A Child’s Magic: a learner’s self-empowerment

I am not a doctor. It sounds like an infomercial that you hear around 2 am when you can’t sleep blasting from the t.v., right? What I do have is eleven years of teaching under my belt in some of the lowest neighborhoods where most of the parents barely graduated high school, residencies for my counseling degree at a residential treatment center where girls had been in the foster system for most of their life, and working as a school counselor in a variety of settings.

Think of the fairy tales you read as a child, none of them spoke of a magic formula where everything you ever wanted came true just because you did something you were told to. Fairy tales happened because of what the character, usually an adorable girl with pig tales or a handsome young chap with an earnest desire to explore, did something about. They made it happen, mistakes and all. Shouldn’t children have that same opportunity?

Sometimes it’s all about working with what the child or learner brings to the classroom. Sometimes you have the unwillingness learners, the ones that  are sleepy, almost zombie like, like this kiddo I observed last week.

He was sluggish, and unmotivated, but given the appropriate content, I knew I could capture his attention. With those types of learners, I work with what he  is interested in learning  on his own.  Using the wiggle seat gave him a constant ripple of motions that sparked his body to engage physically, and working on something he liked the first thing in the morning, made his brain engage mentally. Connecting the brain and body made his learning relevant, which in turn, helped him take an active role in his learning.

Like I said, I’m not a doctor, but aren’t these simple adjustments with working with our children something we can all do? I am all about magic and children, I just feel that they should be in charge of their own destiny .

 

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Picture this: Your child is screaming as you try and get out of the door. If only you could give him something to stop the high pitched screaming that is flooding your ears. Enter the bargaining chip. The art of bargaining with your children can be tricky, particularly when they are struggling with paying attention combined with high volume levels of energy.

Although, the ease of temptation can come creeping in and outweigh you like a sandbag, this can be the worst thing you can introduce into your child and your repertoire.

Recently, Nestle announced plans that they would be retiring Yellow Dye Number 5, the artificial color responsible for the boldness of colors. Reporters have claimed how much better the new dye will be, and that artificial colors in a child’s diet have led to increased diagnoses of Attention Deficit Disorder.

Of course we know that a dye is not solely responsible for any diagnosis. Just because parents who read about a child being misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder who happen to have artificial dyes in their diet does not make for a proven correlation. It is, however, there is a connection between the benefits of omitting processed sugar and food into a child’s diet.

So you can actually reap a benefit from Nestle’s decision to take out artificial dyes from their candies, but wouldn’t the real benefit be avoiding processed sugars, including candy, for your child’s repetoire of foods altogether?

Bore-dom

teenroofpicBoredom. By definition it is the state of being restless due to a lack of interest. From a child’s perspective, they to be overcome by a sense of impending doom with absolutely nothing to do at all. Often adults, we seem to misunderstand that boredom means something entirely different to them. As a parent, you think “pick from one thing that you have surrounding you and do it,” and yet it’s often not that simple.

Psychologically, boredom as a phrase has taken the place of words like frustrating or depressing. In a child’s case, their sense of doom could be a mirror of what they are feeling both within themselves and in interacting with others. External boredom is a simple cause and effect to solve by adjusting the external stimuli. If  they are bored with academics, give them a brain break and let them rest for a bit. I have seen yoga or using mint chap stick as an aromatherapy to lower the toxic run of emotions that often coincides with boredom. Internal boredom can be a more serious indicator that something’s going on.

Children live in such a world of inner thoughts and silence and yet listening to their stream of thoughts can be both empowering and toxic. If a child’s self-efficacy is high, then they they are the superheroes of their own world. They will try and attempt almost anything they set their minds too. However, if a child’s inner thoughts are toxic, they may prevent or hinder them from being the best version of themselves. Whatever a child’s age, even if they are in embarking on their teen-hood, teach them how to listen to themselves, and let their silence be your words.