The truth as I know it:

We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time & miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands. ~~~ Kristi Larson

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bonding Activities.... as promised

Okay, sorry it's been so long coming, but I promised to do a dump of information from my old social work files to my blog so that anyone who needs them might easily find them. Feel free to use them as you like. This one comes from teh Center for Family Development and any credit for their success should be credited as such.

Activities to Facilitate Attachment

Touching, rocking, eye contact, movement and physical closeness all will facilitate developmental attachment. Any activity that encourages reciprocity (such as pat-a-cake) and emotional attunement is helpful.
  1. Peek-a-boo with hands, blanket, hood of jacket, from behind a door
  2. This little finger went to market with fingers or toes
  3. comb the child's hair facing each other while commenting on color, texture, shape, and form
  4. washing child's face, bathing child
  5. lullaby singing. Cradle your child so that eye contact is maintained while you gently rock child and sing. Be sure to put child's name and descriptions of the child's features into the song whenever possible. (for example, "Jesus loves John, this I know...." )
  6. Push that Button. Gently press on the child's nose, ear, finger, toe, chin, etc. and make a noise such as "honk", "beep", or "toot". Then have child copy you.
  7. Blow raspberries on child's arm, leg, belly, cheek.
  8. "pop" cheeks. Fill your mouth with air and gently guide your child's hands to your cheeks to pop out the air and make a sound. Then do the same to the child.
  9. Singing and rhyming couple with movement, bouncing, dancing, rocking, moving arms or legs, fingers, etc. Simon says games.
  10. Rubbing lotion onto child's hands, feet, arms, or legs.
  11. Playing with clay or shaving cream together to make shapes
  12. Tower of hands: alternate hands and then move bottom hand to top of pile.

Those are all the suggestions from this sheet, but I would add a few that I have learned through various trainings, etc.

  1. rub lotion on each other's hands and arms, use gentle pressure to have a relaxing affect.
  2. for a girl, paint her nails and then let her paint yours.
  3. play a game where you blink a certain number of times and they have to watch you closely and blink back the same number... this is great to facilitate eye contact in children who are a little older.
  4. play "suck and blow", the old high-school ice breaker where the whole family stands in a circle and pass a playing card from one person to the other without using hands. You suck the card to your lips to hold it, then the other person puts their mouth on the other side of the card and sucks while you blow to pass it to them. Try not to let the card drop. This usually ends in everyone collapsed in laughter, which is very healing and helps children bond and feel safe.
  5. co-sleep or make yourself a "nest" on the child's floor so that you can sleep close to them or at least stay with them until they fall asleep.
  6. Play with a doll and show the doll all the love you want them to show you, then have the child do the same (feed the doll, rock the doll, etc. etc.)
  7. Feed the child every bite of food at first. If at all possible, revert the child to a bottle. I have had great success with this with my two boys, but Meg would have nothing at all to do with a bottle or even a sippy cup in the beginning.
  8. I make up songs about my kids. Each child has a special song that they like me to sing. Liam, at 7, still asks for his special song all the time. It's not rhyming, it has a terrible little made up tune, but it names each of his body parts (hair, nose, eyes, ears, hands, etc. etc.) and tells what makes them special and why God game them to him. For example, "God gave Liam brown eyes, the color of a chocolate bar, to see all God's good work..." and on and on it goes.

I hope those help. As I think of more I will be happy to share them, but these are the "official" ones that are easy to do for children who are not "unattached", but simply entering the home and learning to bond. Children who have actual attachment issues will likely require much more intensive attachment and bonding activities and should be seen by an ATTACHMENT therapist (NOT just a normal therapist.... you can really mess up a kid in normal therapy if attachment is the issue because normal rules do not apply to these precious ones!)

Question of the day: "Does anyone else feel the same amount of disappointment I feel when they pour the last cup of coffee?" I'm still thinking about the barefoot thing.... come back tomorrow to see if I got up the courage!

Mark 1:45

"....He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere." Amazing isn't it? Even when our Lord was silent, people sought Him until they found Him.


Barb said...

What I want to know is, why is the last cup of coffee only half of one? I'm usually tempted to brew a new pot . . . I just want to say that you were a huge help to us, early on, with attachment activity suggestions and it's always nice to get more ideas, such as some new ones on this list. Did you notice that I never stopped following? Love ya, Ondrea! Have a great day!!

lori said...

Go barefoot! You're too confident to worry about others; Paint your nails and go for it!!!

Anonymous said...

Seriously, there are germs on the ground. And sharp things! And probably health code rules about no shirt - no shoes - no service, in public places and businesses.

Hey, how about taping a picture of your barefeet to your shoes? It'd make people curious.

Carey and Norman said...

Thank you for sharing this information. Do you know of anything we can do to help our daughter understand that it is okay for her to get out of her bed to go to the bathroom at night. We have met another couple who adopted two girls who are now 4 and 5 (18 months and 2 when adopted) and they still won't get out of bed either to use the toilet. Thought you might have some tips!!

Settle Family said...

Thank you! It is so good to know that we have been doing some of these things already. I look at our precious girl and how far she has come but I know that her beginning was not what it should have been . So as her momma I will not leave a stone unturned!