We were those parents who struggled nightly with trying to get our daughter to sleep. Facing the tantrums, the tears, the heart wrenching sobbing and the ear splitting screams. We faced the ever depresssing ebb and flow of emotions from anger to frustration to just total exhaustion.
As a parent I submitted to the specialists and did everything that they told me to do….religiously
No computers, TV, games console, phone, or any other electronic device
I went on sleep courses where I felt like a failure as the rules never seemed to apply to my daughter. It became frustrating and to be honest I stopped going as nothing was making any difference. Our daughter was stressed out and so was I.
Late one night while my daughter was still trying to go to sleep I was googling for help and advice. Firstly what strikes me is that a lot of the research and information available is based on studies in America. While speaking to parents over the years sleep problems are a significant issue here in Britain so why are the specialists here not better able to help us. Why are we given medication and told to get on with it? Why are we told to attend courses to teach us what we are already doing? When will doctors accept that for some children sleep is a real medical issue and not parents making up symptoms in the hopes of a quick cure to make our lives better??
While researching one sleep deprived, weary night I came across mentions of massage. This is something that I had never considered before but having come out the other side of relationship problems, feeling insecure but determined with the thought of doing something for myself appealing I booked onto an Indian Head massage course.
The course took 3 months to complete and with my daughters permission I used her as a case study. Well wow from the very first massage move my daughter was a little less tense, a little less stressed and that night along with her medication she went to bed and actually slept. Well like you I thought it was a fluke but as the course progressed and my skills became more fluent and skilled we noticed a big diffrence in bedtimes.
Don’t get me wrong massage is not a cure, sometimes it will work but others it won’t. The biggest thing for me is that it encourages the bond between me and my daughter. It’s time that we can spend together, relaxing. Massage also helps to relax me which in turn has a positive effect on my daughter. You see if I am angry and stressed she bounces off that, once I calm down I have noticed she does too.
How can I use massage at home….
Massage does not mean that you have to go and train. A massage could be a back rub, twirling hair at bedtime, it’s about positive touch. For those who would like a bit more structure then I recommend story massage. You can learn 10 simple massage moves that you can use with any song, story, rhyme and can be used anytime anywhere not just at bedtime. We use storey massage all the time from camping to the doctors. Massage can help reduce tension and stress, can help to calm and refocus and with the story massage you can have fun with your children creating massage stories and….
Best of all mums and dads your children can share a massage with you!!!
If you would like to find out more or just wants chat please do contact me
Story Massage…… a wonderful massage therapy based activity that can be shared by the whole family. Wether we are singing songs, nursery rhymes or just telling stories for the last two years Story massage has given my children so much joy for the spoken language as well as becoming the staple relaxation method used in our house.
Story massage was created by its founders Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper since 2007 to promote activities using positive touch within the home, school and wider field. These two amazing ladies run a training course which is where I first learnt how to blend 10 simple massage moves with stories. Story massage is used within some schools curriculum, care homes, respite, therapy session’s and by parents all over the world. Being such an adaptive skill set to have it can be used in any language and is especially wonderful to use with special needs and disabilities.
Two daughters who have a mild sensorineural hearing loss and as such the positive touch used in story massage and the contact means that they are able to hear and feel the story.
Another of my other daughters has a hearing loss and ADHD and I find that the end of the day s a great way of using story massage to wind down and aide with calming ready for sleep.
I also have a daughter with no hearing impairments or disabilities who is just a teenager and she loves to make up stories and show her skill’s.
There is no age limit, no discrimination just respect, relaxation and fun. A great activity that can be shared by all.
For me story massage has enable my children to not only learn to positively interact with each other but to also aide their speech and language skills, phonic’s, writing and story telling skills, their concentration, the ability to relax and focus, being able to learn about the environment around them and it is a skill that they will go on to use with their own children one day in the very distant future…..
I also find story massage is great to use as a rainy day activity, while waiting in queues, car journeys, talking about new and exciting subjects and at bedtime there is nothing like settling down to bed with a soothing massage to my off key tones of Lavenders blue, twinkle twinkle and other favourites.
With stories in mind there are some days when my daughter is a little more restless than usual and needs idea’s for a new and interesting story. We have the wonderful book from storymassage.co.uk which has nursery rhymes and stories with something for everyone and the massage moves are there for you which is a fantastic book to take out and about with you. Our’s travelled to Scotland last year where we enjoyed story massage camping style.
So always on the look out for innovative idea’s that I can use I was approached by a wonderful lady at Ignite Imagination’s . This lovely lady create’s wooden story cubes. I was sent a lovely bundle of 6 cubes, hand decorated with a picture on all 6 sides. Well my daughters love them!!!
they came in a handy drawstring bag
3cm cubed perfect for slipping in your handbag and don’t take up to much room
you are able to choose which themed cubes you would like
they are colourful and robust
provide endless material for fun stories
We have fairy tale characters, clothes, food and then three cubes with various object’s on them such as a ballon, car, shield, chair.
When I took them out of the bag my daughters aged 7 and 10 were there within minutes finding pen and paper, rolling the cubes and coming up with lovely stories to share. Here’s a story they made up using the cubes….
A unicorn imagined an egg (circle)
But she magicked a fried egg instead (drums)
Then she magicked some trouser’s and top (wave)
And decided to go pick some flowers ( sprinkle)
When it got dark, she magicked a light (fan)
And sat down to eat her egg ( calm)
Eliza Age 7
Using story massage as a daytime activity with the cubes has been great fun and something that I hope to share with other parent’s and children when sharing Story massage with them.
Sitting here listening to the steady beat of the raindrops outside I am transported to a place of quiet and relaxation and harmony. Hang on a minute its the half term holidays!!!!! whats going on even when my other three children are outside playing my daughter with ADD is always about hanging on my every word, movement, talking non stop, being bored wether she is medicated or not as she does not cope well with the change in routine that is the school holidays.
Panic stations creep in maybe she has gone outside without me knowing or maybe she is downstairs with the scissors for art and omg I left her unsupervised ARGH
Heart in mouth I literally leg it downstairs and then stop dead. When will I learn….its nothing bad. You see 30 minutes ago I came upstairs while she was starting another one of her art projects. Art is her passion she loves to draw and make and show. Biased mummy that I am I even have some of her pictures on the wall framed. So amongst the turbulent feelings that split second of realisation has caused I realise I left my daughter to do arts and crafts and as far as I know she is still there. Of course this does not stop the panic… having a child who is impulsive means hardly a minute goes by without me worrying what she is going to do next and even though she is nearly 11 that has not changed, factor in the memory, concentration and emotional factors of ADHD/ADD its hard to grasp this alien concept that means she can stay focussed and in one place for more than 5 minutes.
Whats this I hear you say….shes’s sitting still, concentrating, focused on one thing instead a myriad of different tasks in a matter of minutes. Maybe the ADD / ADHD is not there? Maybe its a misdiagnosis well no its actually something that is real and quite amazing and known by some as an ADHD super power…. Its called Hyperfocus…
“Hyper focus is the experience of deep and intense concentration in some people with ADHD. ADHD is not necessarily a deficit of attention, but rather a problem with regulating one’s attention span to desired tasks. So, while mundane tasks may be difficult to focus on, others may be completely absorbing”
I can see why this symptom of ADHD could be misinterpreted. Heck I didnt even know it existed until I started a course in ADHD awareness. I was never told by the ADHD nurse about Hyper focus. I spent moments grappling with my decision to medicate and attend appointment’s when this symptom popped up, was I wrong was she in fact fine and not have a neurodevelopment disorder?? I thought she was just being stubborn. Talk about learning something new everyday and giving your self a heart attack. There is no way I would have put Hyper focus as part of the ADHD.
What does Hyper focus mean for my daughter and us?
Firstly hyper focus affects us all. This peculiar symptom of ADHD can cause arguments and stress within the family. My daughter is so focussed on the task at hand that sometimes its a real struggle to get her to move onto something else. In the case of art work this is fine I don’t mind her doing art for as long as she likes as she is expressing herself and learning from the environment but its when the hyper focus gets stuck on things like the maths games on the laptop. Again you would not necessarily think that would be an issue but when she is so focussed on finishing first one level then the next and so on and so on it is very difficult to try and get her to relinquish the laptop so that she can do reading which is just as important for her to do as it builds her knowledge of language and aides her language skills. Plus she becomes completely shut of from the world around her and as the definition says very absorbed, yes she is quiet but she also can’t answer questions and can become angry and frustrated if the laptop is taken away as it is every evening at least an hour if not more before bed.
Hyper focus can be viewed by some as an amazing ability and it is when its in the right context and its something that empowers my daughter. The amazing confidence and love that she has for the art that she does is an amazing thing. There are times that I love to sit and watch the magic take hold of her. Watching a picture emerge and seeing the focus and dedication she gives the project to make it the best she can is amazing. But for those of us around a child or adult who has it its also frustrating, annoying, upsetting, it winds up siblings, it quite frankly winds me up sometimes. Nasty arguments that can start as a result of someone trying to join in with my daughter are not for the faint hearted. Its almost like she is startled out of a trance and that invokes all sorts of feelings to bubble up due to the interruption, her concentration is broken and it can feel like hell on earth.
So Super power or not?
I think that it is a super power if it can be directed in a positive way but as with everything there will be days when the super power strikes and its the villain not the hero who has come out to play and to be honest i am not sure how I really feel about that…..
Its that time of year again when school is winding down and my children are getting excited about the end of the school term and holidays. For weeks now I have been asked “what are we doing in the holidays mummy?” or ‘Can we do this mummy?” and we are not even at half term yet!!!
So far I have tried to not think about what having the children home for six weeks will mean but today I am facing facts.
The six week holidays for us in previous years has been long and boring and arduous.
No routine – This can spell disaster. Anxiety, excitement, boredom all kick in
Food bills escalate – all parents wether they have disabled children or not must find this one of the biggest effects of school holidays
Trips out – unless throughly planned down to the last second can turn from fun to excruciating in seconds
Holidays – planning and packing with the children about….enough said
Car journeys – these are always the worse. Short trips I can get away with long journeys only if necessary
Holidaying on the doorstep – We use to go camping outside of Norfolk until a few years back. Camping on the doorstep where we can go home if we needed to or fetch something we forgot seemed such a better idea.
Sibling rivalry – In one word OUCH. The children can argue about everything and anything. It can drive me up the wall to the point of tears.
Money is another difficult part of the school holidays. Trips out, holidays they all cost money. Even a seemingly free trip to the beach can cost over £5 plus diesel getting there due to parking costs.
School days are easy the children know what they are doing where they are going and so on…. school holidays are a whole different kettle of fish.
This year we decided to go to Scotland with the caravan in the Easter holidays….. But our daughter with ADD, Anxiety suspected ASD, Sensorineural hearing loss and OCD was not coping with the planning. She started to check the weather at every available moment. I would put my phone down and it would go missing. She would keep repeating when are we going? when are we coming back? What if I don’t like it? What about my things I need mummy?
You see I had only given her a months notice that we were going and with the added issue of memory loss she was basically just freaking out. She was becoming Anxious and at one point worrying so much it was affecting her sleep. So we felt that we had to move the Scotland holiday until July. This has given us an extra 3 months in which to prepare her for a week somewhere away from home and to get use to the idea. We talk about the holiday all the time and have maps prepared and marked so she can see where we are going.
On a test run at the bank holiday weekend we went for three nights just down the road. Literally the next village from where we are!! Two seconds from the Grandparents house. I am not kidding that girl had more luggage then her Dad, Me and three siblings put together. What I found worked though at keeping the anxiety levels down was letting her pack her own bags. This helped her to cope with the fact we were going away from the home. She had a limit of two bags well ok three by the time she had convinced me of what she really needed to take. Items included
Teddy who she literally can not sleep without
Story Massage book
fairy book – we read a chapter every night after medication
some other books
other assortment of toys that she promised would not get in the way
own pillow, sheet, quilt
two other cushions that she sleeps with
certain pjs that she had to have
By the time we had finished near enough her whole bedroom was in the caravan. Thank goodness for a fixed bunk bed and a 6 berth van.
The weekend went well so I have high hopes for the actual week spent in Scotland….Maybe!!!
The night time routine was the hardest aspect. Luckily we shopped around before buying a caravan and made sure it had black out blinds to help with this. In our older vans we use to black out the widows using any means necessary including bin bags taped to the windows. We try to keep to the bedtime routine we use at home so that she has that continuity. Its difficult and there are downsides to camping but to what extent do you allow disabilities to encroach into family life. I hope when my children look back in years to come they realise on some level that everything i do and try to do is to maintain as normal a life of them as possible. Holidays abroad I must admit is not something i have considered doing as yet. The girls ask about going on a plane but for now I am just happy to try and show them what Britain has to offer. Even if its just a campsite a mile from home. Distance is not the be all its the family time spent together that really matters and the memories you make.
So our Scottish holiday entails the trip up there to start with. For that we will do what we did at christmas when we travelled to Yorkshire. I made all of my girls a snack bag up. Items included
The bags were an instant hit and kept their hands busy for the majority of the trip there and back. Tip Tap was a game I remember playing in the back of the car as a child…. a very annoying game that can quickly escalate. Not something I want to experience as a parent 🙂
We also played eye spy, count the red cars and count the white vans. I sat in the rear with my daughter’s. That was an experience but one I felt was worth it. My ADD daughter loved that I was sitting with her and her sisters loved it even more because even when medicated she can turn a small crowded space in to battle ground. I was there with her keeping her calm and relaxed. I was able to use Story massage with her to keep her entertained and the calmer environment meant that Dad could concentrate better on the road and that her sisters didn’t all become stressed out as well. Plus I was able to divide my time between the four of them without craning my neck from the front seat.
After 5 hours on the road I can honestly say I was shattered. The constant entertaining and answering questions and singing meant that I really needed a break once we got there so straight away they went for a walk to burn of the excess energy. That week turned out to be a good week. With everything she needed our daughter mostly had a good time though she was very glad when we started to head home. The floods in York happened the week we were there and she was very scared that we would get trapped by the flood water and not get home. At the time we had a 4 x 4 which went some way to helping with her fear. Its not until you are away from home I think that you really get a sense of how scary having any sort of disability can be.
All I can do is hope for the best. I don’t want the children to miss out on going to new places and doing new things because of their disabilities. It just takes more planning and preparation and being to a degree able to change certain aspects at a drop the hat. We shall see….
As mentioned in previous blogs we use massage with our children as a relaxation, concentration, learning activity. We use massage morning, afternoon and night-times in lots of different situations and scenarios. Why? Because for us massage is a way of interacting with our children using a relaxing tool rather than shouting and getting annoyed with them which i previously did. It means less arguements, less tension and stress. It also means quiet time, creativity and respect.
We have four daughter’s ranging from 12 years through to 6 years. On a daily basis as a family unit we live with sensorineural hearing loss and ADD. We are also currently living with two preteens full of hormonal changes, moods and frustration due to thinking they are ready for the adult world.
Primarily on my older two we use Indian head massage. This is a seated massage that is beneficial at the end of the day to calm and relax as well as spending some one to one time with my children. As a therapist I get asked how this works when parents bring their children for a massage? My answer is that attending a massage therapy session can feel daunting to children. They can become more tense and even scared as they do not know what is going to happen. I always work with a parent in the same room and if possible get mum or dad to have a massage first so that the child can see what is going to happen. I always tend to talk through the massage even with my own children so they do not startle when I move from the shoulders to the neck.
Obviously with children you have to adapt some of the massage techniques to take into account their smaller bones and muscles as well as nervousness and this is something I am always conscious off. I also adapt the massage to go with the child’s body language. My daughter with ADD some days just can not tolerate being touched. If her anxiety is particularly bad then no matter how patient I am massage just will not work so we sit and talk instead. You can see when an Indian head massage does start to work as after a few sessions relaxation sets in, fidgets decrease and children comment they have enjoyed their Indian head massage. Indian head massage is a perfect pick me up after a stressful day as well as being perfect for lunch breaks. Massage can last from 15 minutes to 30 minutes meaning it can fit in with almost any lifestyle.
At this time of year exams can place a lot of stress and tension on our children as young as 10. I have also found Indian head massage to be beneficial here. Children can feel stress as much as we can and so they too can benefit from relaxation. Indian head massage can also aide sleeplessness, headaches and eye strain which are common symptoms of revising and exam taking.
Story massage is a treatment you could say ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’. It is a wonderful treatment blending 10 simple but effective massage moves with stories, nursery rhymes and songs in a variety of ways. This is a treatment that you as Parents can share with your children at any time of the day and dare I say it night. It is also a treatment you can get the whole family, carers,friends, teachers involved in and having fun.
So far we have used story massage
to explain a new situation
Long car journeys
to celebrate a special occassion
In the supermarket
Waiting for an appointment
To calm down an arguements
When waiting in a queue
Camping in the caravan
Story massage is really easy to learn and you can start enjoying it straight away. Since becoming an instructor I have personally used Story massage nearly everyday at home. My children love to write their own stories and then get mummy to put massage moves with it. It really brings out their creative side and gives the children a sense of achievement. Stories can be short and sweet or longer and there really is no right and wrong way to do it. They all sit on the stairs and tell each other stories with massage. Its perfect for a rainy day activity or when those sibling arguments are starting to get on your nerves.
I have also found story massage to be really useful with coping with symptoms of ADD and Anxiety. Personalised stories reinforced with massage can aide concentration, raise self confidence and relax especially when there is difficult behaviour. This has been especially true for us at teatime when my daughter has refused to eat. During training I along with another participate wrote a story about a magical food unicorn. We still use this story even now to encourage my daughter to eat. I have found in my own personal experience that story massage can also reduce the feelings of anxiety. When my daughter is feeling particularly stressed and upset about something story massage gives her a positive to concentrate on. For example in a previous blog I wrote about a car journey and how Story massage helped to keep her calm and focused in a small space.
I offer Story massage sessions to families here in Norfolk.
fun and informal, relaxing learning approach with plenty of tea’s and coffees
A session typically lasts 2 hours either with just parents / carers or with the children as well.
You will learn more about story massage, the founders, history
get hands on practise learning the massage moves
be able to write your own personalised story massage for your child
feel confident in sharing story massage with your own children anytime anywhere
I am now of to do a 5 minute story massage as its the first day back after a long weekend which my ADD daughter has found confusing and is now starting to feel anxious. Keep in touch as always and look out for the next edition
Ha Ha I love this heading I think its well apt for how I feel massage has helped me with coping with the day to day life, drama and ups and downs of raising a nearly 10 year old with ADD and hearing loss. Hope you enjoy reading as always any comments, feedback very welcome, at the end of the day I am just a mum like you x
Touch…. What is meant by touch?
The media portray touch as sensational headlines made to sell newspapers and get you watching the news. It’s deemed inappropriate, something we should never do, something we should get in trouble for. It’s almost a taboo subject. My six year old daughter came home yesterday and told me that the teachers are no longer allowed to apply suncream? my first thought was thats just stupid…. but this is how our society is going.
The thing is human beings need touch. We are a very touch sensitive race. We find comfort and warmth, love and support in touch. We communicate with touch, we express our feelings through touch. We bond through touch… How could this be wrong? The sad answer is in lots of ways. There are so many bad things in the world that for many of us we are unsure what is right or wrong which is making it all the more harder for us parents. Any child needs to feel love and a connection with another human how can that ever be deemed wrong? My children who have hearing loss have already lost the full use of that sense making touch, sight and smell all the more important for them. What happens if touch becomes taboo…. we will no longer be able to hug our own children, tend to their cuts or help them through the power of touch. How will massage therapists like myself use massage to aide and help those if touch is no longer allowed? Its all very scary and confusing as a parent but here is my take on how positive touch could help you and your children x
As an Indian head massage therapist one of the first things I learnt was the history of Indian head massage. Families, barbers ect in India use massage in everyday daily lives. The whole family gets involved from grandparents and the elderly to new babies, toddlers and everyone in between. As well as the massage benefits touch is an important part of family bonding, promoting respect and spending time together.
For us as a family this is where massage now plays a huge part. There is now a lot of research out there on the internet about the benefits of massage for ADHD / ADD and similar conditions. It was due to this research that I decided to train in Indian head massage and story massage. I could go into great detail and post excerpts from these studies but instead as a mother not a research specialist and having hands on experience of everyday living with a child I decided some weeks ago to write what I know.
My main use of massage is at bedtime. My daughter has a drug called liquid melatonin which for her at the minute is the only medication that allows her to have a modicum of sleep. Trust me we have tried and sort medication as a last resort. Before she was medicated we were up until the early hours with a very awake child. Taking it in turns almost in shift patterns, trying to keep the noise down and just simply trying to be a family. Eventually though our other children were starting to suffer the effects of sleeplessness due to their sister. Tempers were becoming frayed, the house was a tense environment and became a home that no one wanted to come back too. Nothing could and still doesn’t sometimes now get her to sleep.
I use to become frustrated and angry because I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t just go to sleep like her sisters. Part of me in a way still feels that I really don’t understand what is going on. We are in the middle of trying to get more information from the specialists but as with anything it’s a long drawn out process. So for now we have to do our best. we medicate her. I as a mother give my child medicine that makes her sleepy even if she doesn’t want to be sleepy. When I say its bedtime it really is bedtime for her. There is no happy medium, its not a joke and its not the easiest thing to do. Watching your child succumb to the effects of drugs is never an easy thing to watch. It does not make me feel good inside to measure out the medication….I am not secretly inside doing a victory dance because tonight I know she will get at least 6 hours sleep. The reality is so much harder to bare.
So bedtime is the main area where we struggle. We have a checklist that we have to methodically stick to :
There’s no electrical devices of any sort an hour before bed. This is to try and help the melatonin produced in the brain do its job.
15, 10,5 minute warnings – this count down ensures the least amount of possible arguing. Our daughter can not be rushed so this helps her to keep track of the time.
medication and snack
Upstairs, wash, dress, teeth
Into bed – check all teddies, blankets are there
read a story
5 – 10 minute massage – in bed where she then does not have to be disturbed.
Maybe 7 – 8 times out of 10 massage is the key to getting our daughter to relax just enough to help the medication do its job. But massage is not a cure. It’s not a fail safe! It’s not a miracle cure. So why do we do it? Because even when you can’t see results massage has helped in some way, it allows our daughter to interact and to feel safe and happy. Its almost like when you swaddle a baby and they feel calmer and content. Its the same with our daughter and massage. We now use massage in so many aspects of her life its almost become a comfort blanket. If she is feeling anxious 5 minutes of massage can make her feel a little better and thats the best that I as a mother can hope for. Its what we do….We find ways of helping our children and making them happy. I feel great achievement if our daughter can manage to sit still for 10 minutes and relax with a massage. I also feel that as her care giver it has strengthened our bond. My voice through story massage can quite often bring her back to herself. A simple story can help her calm herself but also help her with language and counting and just making sense of the world around her.
Back to massage…..
Generally we do 15 minutes of massage every night. I use story massage which is a great way to interact with your child while keeping them engaged. Blending stories, songs or nursery rhymes with simple,gentle, relaxing massage moves promotes relaxation. The massage eases tense muscles and calms the mind while at the same time strengthening the bond between myself and my daughter. Story massage is a great way to end the day. It’s soothing and can be done while my daughter is laid in bed. Twinkle twinkle little star up her arm is her favourite at the minute.
This massage is especially important after a particularly stressful episode. Massage and my voice is sometimes the only way I can get through to my daughter. It can calm her, get her to refocus on the here and now and also get her attention away from whatever caused the problem in the first place.
The way I see it is when I was pregnant I spoke to my bump. I imagine lots of other mothers did this too. Once my daughter was born having failed the new born hearing screening after two years she was diagnosed with hearing loss. Although it took two years for her to get her hearing aids the close contact and endless talking to her ensured we had a strong bond. So she knew my voice. Once the symptoms of ADD started to present themselves aged 2.5 years I figured that on some level she knows my voice and that I am a safe zone. A part of her brain can recognise that I am not a threat and even though her body language is saying one thing generally I am able to calm her down by talking and singing. This can be really hard when she is shouting and swearing at me but I have to persevere. If I can’t look after my own child who else is going to?
Part of this also means that she feels she can take all her anger and frustration out on me as well but that’s for another time.
So when using story massage in a stressful situation it can help to calm and refocus my daughter as she can hear and recognise my voice. Also by telling a story or singing a song there is no room for me to shout or get angry. Have you tried to tell a story while your angry? I have….. By the end I was laughing and so was my husband because it just sounded funny.
Story massage is simple. There is no right or wrong way. It’s all about sharing positive touch with your children. Promoting respect at the same time as being creative and fun. For those with Autism, Anxieties learning disabilities or who just don’t like to be touched all can join in and enjoy the benefits of story massage. You see story massage could be used to promote touch resulting in self confidence. It gives children the chance to be a part of the massage. They can write their own stories, they can join in with siblings or they can share a massage with mum or dad. My own children have endless fun writing their own stories and one of my daughters loves to give massages. She picked up the massage moves easily, as did my 6 year old. Visit http://www.storymassage.co.uk
Indian head massage is reserved for once a week. Concentrating on the upper back, shoulders, neck scalp and face Indian head massage is gentle and a seated massage. The treatment usually lasts 30 minutes. My children all love having a massage. The benefits are lovely.
If you want to find out more then please get in touch. I currently offer sessions in Norfolk to parents, care givers or anyone who wants to learn. To find out more http://www.marshamholistictherapy.co.uk
How many times have you been asked ‘ Is it Christmas yet? ‘
For me I have already lost count. Four very eager excited children means the countdown to Christmas is long and drawn out. The countdown seems to start as soon as they see the shops decorated and for most of us that is as soon as the Halloween stock has been discontinued. I find as a parent that shops in general make it very difficult for us parents. Christmas decorations, sweets and music two months before the actual date makes for a very long countdown especially for those of us who have young or disabled children.
For me and my husband having a daughter who has short term memory loss on top of ADHD can make this time of year very stressful. Short term memory loss is hard for anyone. Imagine you are 9 years old. imagine that you cant remember what you learnt in school the day before. Or that you have been given lines to learn but every time you get it word perfect you then forget nearly all of it. Imagine being able to remember what you ate last year but not being able to tell mummy what you had for lunch. Its very hard and can be distressing for both our daughter and for us. This is where story massage helps us the most. As I touched on in a previous blog due to medication my daughter finds it hard to eat as it suppresses her appetite. When we first wrote Magical food during Story massage training with a fellow trainee I couldn’t have imagined how much it would help my daughter. The story gives her the incentive to eat as it appeals to her magical imagination.
On the outside other than a pair of hearing aids my daughter looks the same as any other child you would see. There is no outward sign of her disability. The ADHD is a diagnosis we have had in the last two years it meant that the medication came on the heels of that diagnosis. The memory loss has always been there but for a long time it was masked by the hearing and the other behavioural problems. As a parent you want happy healthy children. A condition if that’s what you call it like ADHD has a huge impact not only on the child or person who has it but more keenly on those people that are around them. As a family of 6 we have had ups and downs. I very often feel that people think badly of me. I use to hate taking my children out for fear of people looking and staring at us. A trait of our daughters is that she can exhibit babyish behaviour. She can also become very fidgety and noisy. This obviously means people look.
Now a days though I feel a lot differently. I can pick up on the signs that she is going to have a meltdown, or that she finds a particular setting or activity stressful. Indian head massage and more recently Story massage has really helped with this. Having the tools to beable to calm down a situation should it arise has been a god send in our house. it has led to us as a family coping a lot better with the complex behaviours associated with ADHD.
story massage also proves still many weeks after starting a huge hit at bedtimes. so much so its asked for on a regular basis.
so back on track…..
most annoying festive questions are 🙂 :
‘is it Christmas yet?’ or ‘is it next week?’ or even ‘is that the next week then mummy?’
The same questions over and over for approximately 6-8 weeks. Not being able to give the right answer as in its Christmas next week can lead to shouting and upset. It can be very draining and very easy to become fed up with Christmas as an adult. So this year I have changed things. We have made up another story massage to help my children count down the days/sleeps.
Writing your own story massage once you have learnt the 10 simple movements could not be easier. Best of all children love to join in and help to write and choose which moves should go where.
so here’s one we have cooked up
This took us about 30 minutes to make up.
There was a lot of discussion going on as you can imagine. We simply sat down and had the basic idea of counting down the days till Christmas. Having a range of ages from 12 and 11 down to 9 and 5 years I find it fantastic that for the most part all my girls still believe in elements of the magic of Christmas. The older two know or think they know there is no santa but love to get into the swing of things for the younger two. Our daughter with ADHD is a firm believer in magic and santa. I am willing to enjoy it for as long as the children wish to believe as I fear for some they have to grow up much to quickly.
in regards to the story I find that this helps my daughter. Each morning or evening we can sit down and have five minutes to work through the story/rhyme and it just helps to reinforce that idea that there is x amount of days to wait until Christmas. It helps her in the sense that she has an answer everytime she asks that question. If its in the day time she will start to ask me then she will pause and quite funnily say ‘oh yeah its x days cause we did that song mummy’
I find it amazing. the positive reinforcement of the massage along with the story seems to make the information stick in her brain a bit better (I am wonderfully technical not!!) plus the repetition means that some information gets remember where it wouldn’t have if I had only just mentioned it once or twice while being annoyed. Doing a countdown this way as well means that there is positive touch at the start and end of each day. Children need this interaction with parents especially in todays world where most of us don’t have the luxury of being a full time mum. that time at the end of the day is precious. Story massage and indian head massage is a relaxing fun way to spend time with your children and the benefits far outway any negatives.
As usual if you would like any more information on story massage please see