It is that time where we are at the end of one year, and the beginning of another. For children and adults, our minds fill with worry and anticipation of what lies ahead beyond… all that the new year will bring us, both known and unknown.
What is known for a child is often what is familiar, their daily routines and things that are familiar for them: how and where they study and relax. Often a change in these routines, like the start of a new year and talk of new goals, brings anxiety. Picture a wave rushing over you that instantly beckons the tells of worry: sweaty palms, the hair on the back of your neck standing up and your stomach twisting and turning. We cannot change what we do not know, but we can adjust on how we react.
But we think about R-E-A-C-T differently in my first grade classroom.
R= recognizing why your upset
E = identifying your emotional response to the issue
A= actively check out on thinking about it ( we use yoga in my room)
C= what or how will you change
T= take charge of how you can make it better
Because at the end of every day, how we REACT to change makes all the difference, both good and bad.
As a child, holidays are all about wishes. A child wishes for Santa to make an appearance and to get exactly what they want on their list. And as a parent, you wish that all their dreams come true (and to get a bit of rest at some point). Often, we get bogged down with what we want for our children to get to make them that much ahead of the curve. For them to be smarter and brighter, and for them to be content. What about the wish for them to be happy with who they are and growing to be?
Our wishes as adults should be for children to have the moment to be children, without the added pressures that life alone puts upon them because at the end of the day, they are children and have all the tools they need within them to succeed. Isn’t that we all wish for every child to have?
So as you close your eyes this holiday season, wish for the child in your life to be happy with the person they are growing to be and that you will help them strive to be that person every step of the way, big and little.
As a teacher, you have 13 days from Thanksgiving Break to Christmas. In those 13 days, you are often expected to assess their mid-year performance among other daily tasks. These days are far from normal, as the kids are hyped about returning from too much Turkey and are filled with anticipation of Santa’s arrival. However, as a parent, you are dealing with the aftermath of having a child home with you as you prepare a feast, and are cramming your last days of freedom before having them with you in 13 days full-time. Never the less, it’s stressful to say the least.
What I have noticed is that a child’s body, either at home or in the classroom, will demonstrate what is going on cognitively. If a child’s brain is processing rapidly, so their body will as well. And if a child’s is stumped on something or is having a not-so great day, often they may appear lethargic or distant, which is when you bring out the three-minute frenzy.
The three-minute frenzy is when you give a child or student three-minutes to do anything they physically need to do re-focus. It is wise to set parameters first before you have a student climbing kitchen cabinets or getting out the hot glue gun in your classroom, but other than that it is a time for students to get everything out physically. I play the theme from Mission Impossible and the rest is up to the individual student, with the student understanding that when the three minutes is up they return as if they have pushed a reset button.
Think of this way, when we give a child a chance to get every response or wiggle out that they are feeling physically, they are actively creating a clear channel to process new information. The results will astound you and they will have brighter inner crowns by what you as a parent or teacher have shown them what to do, which isn’t that what we all want?
Upside Down Paper Crown is a growth mindset organization who’s primary focus is to connect the body, mind, and spirit of students in not just the learning process, but outside the classroom as well.
The site is currently under construction, but please feel to check back with us as we embark on this journey together.