We have made huge positive changes at SCK over the past month. We identified some growth areas; the biggest one being the stress of our evenings for both clients and staff. Our clients are tired after afternoon activities and school and we took on the challenge of identifying ways to make the late afternoons and evenings a more calm and happy time for them.
Our schedule had been split into 3 equal 8-hour shifts. Now we have a day staff that arrives at 8 a.m. and spends 10 hours with the clients. They are able to provide more consistent care throughout the day. This also affords us the opportunity to attend more events, museums, parks, etc. since we have the whole afternoon for our activities. Clients spend the late afternoon relaxing and showering and then have an early dinner.
After dinner the evening staff arrives with the sole objective of creating a calming environment to ease our clients into a peaceful bedtime. In fact, we have renamed bedtime as "peaceful time" to eliminate the negative connotations many kids connect with having to "go to bed." Instead, the focus is on calming our bodies and relaxing. Once we are relaxed, sleep will come
Our peaceful evenings consist of gross motor socialization time (yoga, dancing, hopscotch, etc.) two times per week we welcome Arubah Emotional Health Services whose therapists lead group activities designed to help our clients identify and express their emotions. After socialization, we work on a fine motor creative project (spin art, painting, clay sculptures, homemade playdoh, etc.). After that we have a calming bowl of cereal so that everyone's tummies are happy. Finally, we do a relaxation activity (relaxation-focused yoga, guided meditation, progressive relaxation, bedtimes stories, stretching) to calm our minds. This moves us into peaceful time when clients rest in their beds and gently transition into sleep.
Since our schedule change, we have seen very calm bedtimes nearly one hour earlier than we averaged with our previous schedule. The new schedule has been a big change for everyone, but we are seeing some great benefits just 3 weeks in. We are excited to see how things continue to improve as we all adjust and work out the remaining kinks. Most importantly we are continuously working to serve our clients better and will keep looking for more ways to be the best we can be for the kids served by SCK.