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A snow day can mean a relief from academic demands or exhausting socializing that comes with school settings. Snow days can also bring increased anxiety with less predictability and structure. While there isn’t yet the perfect solution to the snow day predicament, we can provide some research-supported strategies to help you have productive fun, Aspire style!
By Elise Wulff, MEd
Even as a child, I had a love-hate relationship with snow days. I can empathize with our participants and families who experience this mixed sentiment. A snow day can mean a relief from (often un-preferred) academic demands or the exhausting socializing that comes with school settings. Snow days can also bring increased anxiety with less predictability and structure. While there isn’t yet the perfect solution to this snow-day predicament, we can provide some research-supported strategies to help you have productive fun, Aspire style!
Child groups at Aspire are based in play. Play is a naturally occurring developmental tool that we all engage with in our own unique ways. For our participants, the social expectations of play are sometimes lagging or absent, which might have been what led you to Aspire. Do we teach play? No. Can we teach concepts of play? Yes. Specifically, a core social competency required to find success with play is co-regulation. In the words of Speech and Language Pathologist Linda Murphy, “Co-regulation simply means that each person acts in response to his or her partner; that is, each responds to the other contingently, moment to moment, without controlling what the other person is doing. In lay terms, this would be described as being ‘in sync.’” (Co-Regulation: The Basis for All Social Interaction, published in Autism Spectrum Quarterly, Summer 2011)
Dr. Steve Gutstein designed and built a model to develop play through co-regulation known as Relationship Development Intervention (RDI). In this model, children, with support, engage in structured play to practice foundational social skills (joint attention, social referencing, etc.) in a way that is appealing and natural to the child. Higher-order social skills we hope to grow (turn-taking, conversation mechanics, building relationships, etc.) are built on these foundational skills. Co-Regulation can be practiced in structured activities where, in short, my next move depends on what you just did. In order to play in an activity, I use my eyes to take in clues from my environment. Then, that information informs my next behavior. Then, your turn! Together, we are co-regulating.
Now, back to the Snow Day help.
Some examples of activities that you can try out to practice co-regulation:
*Note: The following activities can be done in a pair and/or progressively working up to a trio or larger groups.
Looking for other ways to pass the time on cold and snowy days?
Consider joining us for our February Vacation Week program! We have groups for ages 5 – 8 and 9 – 13.
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