My five year old is very emotional. Sometimes when he gets upset, it is extremely difficult for him to stop crying or to calm down on his own. Over the years we have worked on calming methods that involve him recognizing when an episode is coming, acknowledging his feelings with specific words and beginning physical calming activities like hugging himself, closing his eyes and breathing deeply, changing his physical location by walking outside, etc.
During one of his recent episodes he was upset and really didn't want to cry. So instead of crying, he Charlie Brown sad-walked away and layed upside down in the large chair and a half in his playroom with his back on the seat and legs on the back cushions and groaned. It was a terrible sound--kinda like wailing--like deep breathing really loudly, but I recognized that he was trying to rid himself of the negative feelings he was experiencing but didn't want to cry. After a few minutes of doing that, he called for me and told me he wasn't feeling very good and that he needed me. He was struggling to breathe normally and I could hear his voice cracking like he was fighting back an epic crying episode. But I'm trying to encourage him to manage his emotions without outside help, and told him very calmly that he would have to calm down on his own and that I knew he could do it. Again the wailing started and lasted about 5 minutes. I was glad to see him trying so hard, and it took a lot for me to listen to my kid in so much turmoil and not step in and fix it for him. Just as I was about to break down and go help him, the wailing stopped and he zoomed past me into his classroom (remember I homeschool). I heard him fidget with his pencil box. He draws all the time, and since I heard him singing and humming songs afer a while, I assumed he was drawing, but nope.
About half an hour later he came and took my hand and pulled me in to where he had been working. On the way he said he felt much better and he figured out how to help himself. This is what he showed me...
He's reading chapter books. He only recently started writing when I realized that phonics and spelling are two seperate skills, so I request a late-pass on the spelling lessons.
Translation: Under a picture of himself on the couch moaning (see the "WAA" in the call out bubble) it says:
"I think there's something I can do and I've got it! That thing is writing. I love writing, yes I do. It is so much fun writing. Do you like to write?"
My boy is a happy child, but he also has a very complex and emotional inner world. I could not be happier that he openly seeks out ways to cope with the frustrations in his little life. I like that he expresses himself extremely well verbally, and by creating music and art--things that enhance the world around us and make life beautiful. That's way better than keeping all that stuff inside to become who knows what when it finally does comes out.
This has only happened once. I hope we can skip all the wailing next time and just get right to the writing though. lol
I'm on the lookout now for an awesome journal for him. If Zack wants to write, then write he shall!