Moments to teach resilience are fleeting. They billow in quickly in a haze of emotion and before we have a second to identify WHAT is happening, WHY it is happening and what you can do as a parent, WHOOSH, it disappears. Today I gift to you, 3 strategies, tested in the classroom, backed by research and justified by science. They serve as coping skills to slow down those crucial parenting moments to begin to teach resilience.
Let’s jump straight into the strategies;
- On a Scale
- Breathe 1..2…3… Respond
- “I am here for you.”
On a Scale
The next strategy is about acknowledging that every brain is different. An inaccurate sentence you can say to another person is “I know how you feel.” It’s simply impossible, our brains are too different.
This strategy serves to help you understand and coach.
You need to draw on your relationship with your child and attempt this strategy pre-meltdown. We always use dramatic memories for the scale. ‘5’ may be their happiest moment ever OR ‘0’ could be the time they broke their arm.
- “On a scale of 0 to 5, where 0 is as bad as that time you broke you arm, how are you feeling right now?”
“At a 2, my arm isn’t broken yet, but i’m real sad.”
- “I had no idea you were feeling that way, what can WE do to get to a 3?”
This is up to your discretion, use the 0 as you ‘happy moment’ or your 5. Again, you know your child, what will they respond to?
Breathe 1…2…3… Respond
Before you roll your eyes, I agree, you cannot get a child (or a husband) to pause and take three deep breaths in a heightened moment. They just won’t. The research backs them up. If you don’t know how to breathe deeply, three ‘deep breaths’ is completely ineffective. The 1…2…3… of this strategy stands for
- One breath in (inhale)
- Another breath in (inhale)
- A HUFF of a breath out (exhale)
This resets our system. Restarts our brain and emotion if you like.
Now this cannot be taught in the moment, it must be practiced, then prompted mid-meltdown.
“I am here for you”
The simplest of the strategies and the one I use the most in a primary school setting. This is for those moments of pure emotion, when a child is heightened beyond control.
We begin by offering our help (be natural, just act as you always do), but when the child climbs emotionally, begins to be physical or hits, we step away. Check they are safe then;
“I’ll wait right here until you are ready. I am here for you. I’m not going anywhere.”
And follow through. You must wait, exactly as you state. Stay quiet, you are the calm they are seeking.
This was taught to me by a Special Education professional and I have kept it in my pocket ever since. It is gold.
Want to know more about these strategies? How to teach them or why they work? Tune into my next post, but until then, it’s your turn parent educator. TRY these strategies on yourself. Start with 1…2…3… Respond.
And…of course…let me know how you go!