}

Calming Lavender Scented Bubble Recipe

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

Blowing bubbles is a great strategy to teach kids as a calming technique. It helps to slow down breathing and bring their bodies back into a state of relaxation. It’s a technique I use often with two of my girls, particularly in the summer. There are also many sensory benefits to blowing bubbles. One day, it occurred to me that I could combine the calming benefits and sensory benefits to an even greater extent if I made lavender scented bubbles for them to use.

These lavender scented bubbles provide a wonderful calming technique for kids.This lavender scented bubble recipe is so easy to make and the bubbles it creates are strong and plentiful. I used lavender essential oil to create the scent because I wanted it to actually have a calming effect.

Two neighbourhood friends came over to test out the new bubbles with us and our new kitten was super curious about them too, making for some great pictures!

Lavender Scented Bubble Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup unscented, clear dish soap
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3-5 drops lavender essential oil
  • optional: 3 drops of food colouring

Directions:

Mix together the water, dish soap and corn syrup. Once it is well combined, add the drops of essential oil and food colouring and mix in. Pour the bubble mixture into a container, add a bubble wand and start making bubbles!

We used a glass mason jar for our bubble mixture, but later in the day when we had younger kids visiting, I transferred it into a plastic container.

If you don’t have a bubble wand handy, you can create a loop at one end of a pipe cleaner and use that for a bubble wand. With this bubble solution, my daughter also was able to blow bubble using her hand held in a loose fist and by using mesh cording.

As you can see, these lavender scented bubbles are not only calming, they also make some pretty large bubbles that last and last! The kids had such a good time playing with them.

I think this bubble solution would keep well in an airtight container, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you first-hand because this recipe was so popular that in two days at our house, it was all used up!

You may also be interested in these other sensory activities we have done that use the calming effects of lavender:

Calming Lavender Sensory BinLavender Sensory Bin

Lavender Scented Playdough

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Secondary Trauma in Adoptive Moms

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This is a heavy topic and one that I’ve put off writing about for far too long. I know there are other mommas like me out there. I know because they email me and private message me and the desperation is evident in their words.

I wanted to share some information about secondary trauma and provide a few suggestions to help combat it before I share a bit about my personal story of living with it.

Secondary Trauma in Adoptive Parents - symptoms, treatment and my personal experience with itSecondary trauma, which is also sometimes referred to as vicarious trauma, can affect therapists, first responders and primary caregivers. By bearing witness to the trauma of others, you can take some of that trauma on for yourself. You can imagine that in adoptive parents whose children have endured abuse, neglect, abandonment, or unspeakable evils prior to coming to them, that trauma can become something they themselves can begin to take on.

The DSM states that trauma can affect those who survive a traumatic event, those who witness a traumatic event or those who hear of a traumatic event that affected someone of significance to them. It then stands to reason that parents who hear of their adopted child’s past trauma would be at risk of developing secondary trauma.

Some of the signs of secondary trauma include:

-having difficulty talking about your feelings
-feeling diminished joy towards things you once enjoyed
-feeling trapped
-having a limited range of emotion but anger and irritation always being present
-having an exaggerated startle response
-intrusive thoughts of your child’s history
-nightmares
-feelings of hopelessness
-trouble sleeping
-worrying
-exhaustion
-apathy
-problems with intimacy
-feeling withdrawn and isolated
-feeling impatient
-questioning your worldview
-feeling detached
-low self-image
-perfectionism

There are some strategies that can help combat symptoms of secondary trauma. Exercise that increases your heart rate for at least 12 minutes a day, five days a week, can decrease symptoms. Focusing on your breathing and using mindfulness have also been shown to help. For mindfulness, you can use yoga, a mindfulness app on your phone, gratitude, prayer, or meditation. Finding a support group of others who have walked a similar road can be therapeutic. Individual or family counselling may also be helpful.

For myself, I find that yoga is helpful once I am actually in the class, but rarely make the time for it. I do regularly use a combination of prayer and purposeful gratitude.

Hearing about your child’s past trauma can trigger your own trauma history which is also something to be aware of. If you find that your symptoms are worsening or significantly interfering with your life, seek the help of a licensed therapist.

One further note regarding trauma: secondary trauma can occur from hearing about your child’s past trauma but, as a foster or adoptive parent, you can also be at risk of developing full PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This can happen as a result of your child’s behaviours, for instance if you are attacked or placed at risk. PTSD can also occur if your spouse or other children are harmed or if behaviours occur that require legal intervention. If you suspect you may be suffering from PTSD, seek help from a medical professional or licensed therapist.

My own story of secondary trauma and PTSD:

I didn’t realize for a long time that I was suffering from secondary trauma. It wasn’t something that was talked about in the adoptive community. I knew that I was struggling. Certain aspects what some of my kids had gone through before they came to me haunted me. While it’s normal to feel sympathy for someone else’s suffering, particularly someone you love, there is a point where it can become unhealthy and I had reached that point. I was taking on their suffering. My secondary trauma left me feeling weak and run down and I believe that it put me at greater risk for PTSD.

I strive to keep my children’s privacy, so I won’t publicly go into details of what triggered my PTSD, but I want to share with other adoptive moms (and dads) that it is so important to take care of your own mental health. Being purposeful about practising self-care is a must.I am now in therapy for my secondary trauma and PTSD and have found tremendous healing with the use of EMDR. It feels great to be myself again!

If you suspect that you may be suffering from secondary trauma or PTSD, I urge you to look into therapy and practising self-care. It can make a world of difference.

Helping a Child Through TraumaHelping a Child Through TraumaRecognizing the Signs of Reactive Attachment DisorderRecognizing the Signs of Reactive Attachment Disorder

Books for Connected Parenting

(This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.)

What is connected parenting? While connected parenting can certainly be used with any child, the term is most commonly used to describe a type of parenting adopted children who may have experienced early childhood trauma. It looks different than other parenting methods in that it focuses on connection before correction. It takes into account the child’s past hurts and tries to facilitate healing through the parent-child relationship.Connected parenting is also sometimes referred to as therapeutic parenting. If you are new to this parenting style, these books can serve as your guide.

Books for Connected Parenting

Connected parenting is also sometimes referred to as therapeutic parenting. If you are new to this parenting style, these books can serve as your guide. I would recommend starting with The Whole-Brain Child and The Connected Child.

The Whole-Brain Child will give you a better understand of the “why” behind your child’s behaviours. It will also help you understand how your own brain works and give you a better sense of why you react the way you do to certain triggers which can be immensely helpful in parenting children who’ve experienced trauma.

The Connected Child is written by the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, one of the founders of  The Institute of Child Development at TCU. I am privileged to have been able to speak several times. She truly was such an incredible woman who pioneered much of the research on attachment and trauma in children.


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Helping a Child Through TraumaHelping a Child Through Trauma

Recognizing the Signs of Reactive Attachment DisorderRecognizing the Signs of Reactive Attachment Disorder

Activities to Teach Kids About Emotions

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Giving our kids a solid foundation for emotional health is so important. When we are raising our kids, we want to give them the best foundation as far as their physical health so we make sure that they get enough water and food and exercise and we teach them to tell us when they aren’t feeling well. We even teach them to identify what part of their body is hurting them and we use tools like thermometers to check them for fevers.

Emotional health is no different. Kids don’t come into the world knowing how to care for their emotional health any more than they come into the world knowing how to care for their physical health. It is up to us to teach them.

Part of that comes with giving them the vocabulary. Emotion words can be very challenging for kids to learn, especially those who are on the autism spectrum, have early childhood trauma, or have attachment disorders. It can take a fair bit of repetition and explanation for emotion words to become natural for children and it can take even longer for them to begin to identify their own emotions.

In our house, I try to make learning about emotions fun. It’s also good to make it part of your regular routine. It’s made a big difference for our kids.
Giving our kids a solid foundation for emotional health is so important. These activities to teach kids about emotions are perfect for this.

Activities to Teach Kids About Emotions

Jenga Feelings Game from here on The Chaos and The Clutter

The Chart that Saved our Emotions (Big Time) by The Natural Homeschool

Emotion Changing Paper Cup Octopus by Easy Peasy and Fun

Strawberry Emotions Matching Game for Toddlers by Simple Fun for Kids

Which Emotion Am I? Guessing Game from Childhood 101

Emotions Discovery Bottles from Lalymom

Emotions Scavenger Hunt from Mosswood Connections

Build a Face Story Stones from Where Imagination Grows

Resources to Teach Kids About Emotions and How to Manage Them from here on The Chaos and The Clutter


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More Activities to Teach Kids About Emotions

Teaching About Emotions and Feelings by Montessori Nature

Montessori Peace Table ~ Why Everyone Should Have One by The Natural Homeschool

Printable Spanish Flashcards: English to Spanish Feelings Flashcards by Look, We’re Learning

Personalized Emotion Game from B-Inspired Mama

Emotions Sensory Bins by Sugar, Spice and Glitter

Create a Feelings Learning Center from Buggy and Buddy

Ideas on How to Teach Kids about Peace {Printable List} by The Natural Homeschool

FREE Printables and Activities on Feelings and Emotions by Homeschool Giveaways

Managing Feelings and Emotions Free Printables by Natural Beach Living