All aboard. The theme at our Danforth program this week was emotional regulation. For many kids, emotions are like a roller coaster of ups and downs. This unpredictable ride can sometimes cause storm fronts for kids and families.
Kidevolve is committed to connecting kids with tools for social and emotional learning (SEL). This is the process through which children (and adults) acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions. Basically, we want kids to get in the driver's seats of their minds.
Something clicked with our Kidevolve kids when our teacher Marni introduced the concept of checking into your feelings - the same as a weather report. Like the weather, our moods keep changing and shifting. Sometimes we’re sunny, windy, stormy, cloudy and even thunderous. And sometimes we're hailing giggles!
Some of the kids commented that they sometimes wake up grumpy, like a thunderstorm. And then quickly their mood shifts to a sunny day when something nice happens to them. Using the weather report analogy, kids are given a new, easy vernacular within which to express how they are feeling. Marni encouraged them that the trick is to be aware (mindful) of their moods as they crop up.
Marni then guided them through our ‘Stop, Breath and Think’ exercise in a calm, and rhythmic way using helpful hand gestures.
STOP - hand up, palm face forward
BREATHE - hand up
THINK - hand on head (while breathing out)
The kids understood this tool immediately and repeated it during the class. They all contributed examples of practicing it when feelings came up strongly and intensely. You could see their bright minds percolating on this new tool in wonderful ways.
Our heart melted a little (ok, a lot) when we saw 10 kids hook onto this nifty new tool for life.
Book Recommendation: See if you can pick up a copy of When The Anger Ogre Visits (by Andree Salom). This simple yet engaging story gives kids guidance about how to deal with anger as a natural part of their inner lives; rather than squelching anger or pushing it away, it invites kids to sit with and observe anger, removing its overwhelming aspects. See: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22609221-when-the-anger-ogre-visits.