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A Sound That Soothes

Book on a wooden shelf titled, "Under the Same Moon".
The recordable storybook used to help soothe the child.

How do you help a toddler process separation from their family? Staff in Easterseals VT’s Family Time Coaching Program found a unique way to support a young child who was overwhelmed by transitions.

First separated from their mother and older siblings, the child was living away from them in foster care. The toddler reunited with their family for Family Time Coaching sessions on a weekly basis, but saying goodbye led to meltdowns that lasted the rest of the day and evening. The young child needed to be held constantly, ate little, and slept fitfully. These hard nights led to difficult days at daycare.

The team at Easterseals VT came up with an ingenious solution: recording the little one’s mother reading a story. The Family Engagement Specialist shared the recording of the mom’s voice with the toddler as they transitioned from Family Time to daycare and states, “The first time, I played the recording through my car radio 11 times for her, the next time six, then less and less.” The recording was the key they’d been looking for.

With the help of grant funds, Easterseals VT purchased a recordable storybook so the child could take their mother’s voice everywhere. When the child first realized it was their mother’s voice reading the story, they placed their face close to the book pages and whispered, “Hi Mommy.” The toddler now has access to the book during transportation and at the foster home. Listening to the mother’s voice helps the toddler regulate complicated emotions during transitions and times of stress.

It’s not always possible to eliminate a child’s stress, but Easterseals VT finds innovative ways to make safe and nurturing family time a reality for every family.