As the end of the year gets closer and closer, I think it is harder at times to remember to be patient and understanding. I often forget the power my words can carry to either make a situation better or sometimes be fuel on the fire. I have had questions and comments about whether the brain of a little one understands the difference when I say things like When you are quiet, I will begin to I will begin when you are quiet. There are times I too doubt the language Conscious Discipline says to use.
Here is one of the things I love about CD. Becky Bailey explains how our brains process information and how that information can cause us to shift to the 3 main areas of the brain: the brain stem that asks Am I safe?, to the limbic system that asks Am I loved?, to the frontal lobe that asks What can I learn from this? There is even a song on one of her cd's that teaches the kiddos about the different parts. It is adorable and called "On Top of My Brain Stem". I have taught my kiddos this song before to help them understand that when they get upset and shift down to the brain stem how important it is for them to breathe and calm down.
I have attended several CD workshops led by people who have been trained by Becky Bailey. At one of the workshops, we learned about shifting from the language of FEAR to the language of LOVE. I wanted to share some of the ways you can do that with the words you say. The words in red are the language of fear and the words in blue are the language of love.
*Look how you made her feel.
See her face. Her face is saying I feel sad. I don't like it when you push me.
*Is that any of your business?
Are you telling me to be helpful or hurtful?
This is one that needs to be taught in great detail about when to come and get your help. The book Tattle Tongue is great about teaching when to come and get the teacher's help.
*Are you bleeding or hurt or dying?
Did you like it?
This is where you remind the kiddos to use their BIG VOICE. This is really incredible. My kiddos really don't tattle and haven't for quite awhile. I have been going a little nuts lately because the phrase I don't like it when you__________. Please stop. has been repeated many, many, many times throughout the day but they are solving the problems by themselves and most are not big issues where I need to get involved.
*Do you want to go to the office (move your clip, get your name on the board, sit in time-out on the playground, etc)
Are you willing to do that again in a helpful way or would you be willing to calm down and start over? What do you choose?
*You are driving me crazy, I am tired of you ___________, etc.
I am going to calm down. When I feel calm enough to solve the problem, I will let you know. For now, go back to your seat.
I had to remind myself of this with one of my kiddos who gets upset and angry very easily. I knew I could not help him through this problem because I was feeling irritated and frustrated. I had to remember that the only person you can change is yourself. I needed to pivot. This is an amazing activity in CD that I will share more about soon. Here is a little bit of the message I needed to communicate to the child:
I don't like it when you crawl off and start kicking chairs. I feel scared when you start kicking the chairs because you are going to hurt the person sitting next to you and you might hurt yourself. You face is telling me you are frustrated and upset. Something must have happened. I understand that you might be feeling frustrated because _______________ but you can handle it. You may calm down at your table or go find a friend to help you come down. When you are calm I will come help you with the problem.
Since this is a child who gets upset very easily when things are not going his way, we have been working on learning to work through his upset and helping him to understand that he can handle it and it is not the end of the world.
As I type this, I am thinking of all of the situations we help our kiddos through...both the good and the bad. I see the difference when I notice and celebrate more the helpful and kind things I see. I know each one of you is touching more hearts than you may ever realize. I wanted to share again this poem in case some of you are new and haven't read it yet because not only are you a teacher but you are also an Everyday Hero.
Congratulations to Chrissy for winning my little giveaway! I will be emailing you soon! =)
I hope this summer to go chapter by chapter through the CD book and talk about ways to use CD in your classroom from day 1. I would love to know if you would like to be part of that and what would you like me to share.
From My Heart to Yours,