Parenting skills and advice for all children
I am asked quite often how to help children calm more effectively. One method is to have cuddle time whereupon the child's heart is close to the parent's. This allows the child's hear to learn how to beat more slowly and in coherence. The normal range for a resting heart rate is 70-90 beats per minute for a child. Once a child's resting heart rate is either below 60 bpm or above 100 bpm, then there is concern. If their heart rate is below 60 bpm, it is likely that they are dissociating (zoning out) in order to handle the stress they are under. If their heart rate is over 100 bpm, then the child is hyper-vigilent and it will be very difficult for them to be calm.
Heart coherence means the rhythm of the heart beat. There is a certain pattern in which the heart bests. Many traumatized children will have an irregular coherence. This again means that physiologically it is difficult for them to calm. HeartMath is a product that parents can purchase and hook up to their computers. HeartMath allows parents and clinicians to help train the child's heart to have a heart rate within normal range, in addition to a correct heart coherence.
Getting back to cuddle time, it is best to be done every day. I often suggest that this can be part of the bedtime routine. The parent can take the child in their arms making sure that their hearts are touching. A rocking chair is ideal as the rhythmic motions also aids in calming the child's system. The cuddle time needs to be done for at least 10 minutes in one sitting for it to sustain lasting affects.
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