Categories
anxiety

Free Yoga For Kids

Do you know a child who is feeling anxious at the moment? Are you wondering how we can support children’s wellbeing? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, here are some valuable resources for you.

This amazing Irish primary school teacher and yoga instructor (Instagram here) has combined his two roles to create engaging free well-being lessons that combine stories, yoga, meditative exercises and movement to support children’s mental health during these challenging times.

He has been kind enough to create two different versions of the same lesson: one is aimed for 5 – 9-year-olds while the other is aimed at the older classes. Both lessons range between 30 and 40 minutes and are a great resource in the current climate.

Video for the younger classes is here:

Video for the older classes is here:

If you find these remote yoga classes engaging and valuable, please share far and wide to help the widest audience possible. Make sure a click subscribe on David’s Youtube Channel to make sure that you get notified when Lesson Two comes online.

Make sure to follow @davidmooney_yoga on Instagram for updates and more lessons in the future!

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Categories
Behaviour Management Teacher Mindset

How Coaching Applies To Behaviour

Paudie Butler is a guy that I idolise when it comes to coaching children in any sport. He is one of these people that after you listen to him speak, you are inspired and enthused to coach children. He has a love of coaching and an obsession for instilling the love of sport in children.

He once quipped that;

“Supporters watch the ball, however, excellent coaches watch the player”.

Even though he said this years ago, I still think about it often.

What does he mean?

Paudie means that if you are spectating, you are watching the ball. You react to where the ball goes and decide if it is good or bad. For example, if someone takes a shot at the goal, your eyes follow the ball and if it goes into the goal, it’s good and if it goes wide, it’s bad. If a coach follows this approach of only watching the ball, he is getting very little feedback on what to work on at future training.

If you are an excellent coach, however, you are watching the player. You are watching how they execute the skills of the game. You are observing their movement. You are looking closely to see how they position themselves. If a player uses a poor technique and the ball coincidentally goes into the goal, the coach notes the poor technique and may focus on that in future coaching sessions. Equally, if a player takes a shot with perfect technique and the ball goes wide, the coach will be satisfied that the player is executing the skill the right way and will be confident that positive results aren’t far away.

I was thinking about this idea lately and I thought how this principle applies to children who are acting out also.

Onlookers watch the behaviour, excellent teachers watch the child.

What do I mean?

If an onlooker comes across a child who is acting out, they will simply see the behaviour. They observe the child screaming. They look at them running away. They see them being aggressive. If the behaviour is all they are watching, this is all they can react to. They might react by getting angry, by judging the child or by walking away.

Excellent teachers, however, watch the child closely when they come across them acting out. They are deciphering why they are behaving this way. What is the child trying to communicate? Is there an unmet need? What is going on in the child’s surrounding environment? They ask these questions to identify how to react to the full context and underlying cause of the behaviour. They know there are seven common triggers for meltdowns and each one will beget a different response.

The teacher who only watches the behaviour will respond to every child the same way. If a child is shouting out of turn in the class, the teacher may reprimand, ignore or punish every child.

A teacher who watches the child may react this way too. They may also react, however, by striving to give that child more positive attention for the rest of the day because they are aware that the child has a new baby brother and is seeking additional attention to compensate for the lack at home. Or perhaps, they might assign them a different task because they realise the one they have in front of them is too difficult.

Depending on the context and underlying cause, the adult who watches the child will react differently to each situation. This is the correct way to respond: with curiosity as opposed to instant judgement.

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Categories
Behaviour Management

2 Styles: How Do You Communicate With Kids?

Paul Watzlawick was a family therapist and communication theorist. As part of his work, he detailed five principles of communication to consider. One of these was the idea that there are two types of interactions between people. Relationships and interactions can be symmetrical or complementary. I find this to be interesting when contemplating which one works best for children with emotional or behavioural needs.

A symmetrical relationship interaction involves two individuals mirroring each other’s behaviour or emotions. The two parties minimise the differences between each other. A practical example would be when a student gets angry, the teacher responds by getting angry or vice versa. Alternatively, a teacher may be indifferent about a topic of conversation and a child mimics this indifference. When this is the prevalent dynamic of a relationship, behaviour and emotions can escalate. Have you ever had a symmetrical relationship with a child in your class? What about a colleague or friend?

A complementary relationship or interaction results in the two parties having two distinct roles. One person is in the “one-up” position and one person is in the “one-down” position. In a complementary relationship, one person’s persistent aggression would lead to the other’s constant withdrawal. Equally, one person’s habitual negativity could lead to the other’s consistent positive outlook. 

Is symmetrical or complementary better?

Naturally, a teacher may feel that a complementary relationship is best where they are in an assertive “one-up” position while the student is in the compliant “one-down” position. However, neither a symmetrical or complementary relationship is productive all the time. Different children and different teachers require different interactions and relationships dependent on the context. Problems can arise when a relationship becomes stuck in one style of interaction.

For example, if a child has persistent aggressive, angry tendencies and a teacher is habitually meeting this with a symmetrical response of mirroring the emotions through confrontation and reprimanding, it may be time to consider a complementary approach. Take the “one-down” role when they get angry and adopt a calm demeanour and style of interaction. Will this de-escalate the situation?

Equally, a parent may be passive about a child’s behaviour which is being mirrored by the teacher. The relationship may be positive but are the changes that need to occur happened? It could be the perfect opportunity to switch up the style of interactions to complementary and inject some urgency.

The answer nobody wants

If there were black-and-white answers to supporting children with social, emotional or behavioural difficulties, they wouldn’t exist. Like everything we consider, it is trial-and-error and a reflective process. If you’re supporting a child, working with a parent or just interested in communication, consider which of the two relationships you have and contemplate whether it is productively serving you or in need of a change.

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