PANDEMIC-ITIS, ZOOM, CREATIVITY AND KIDS
“I heard you were a very fun teacher. My son is 7 and very depressed from the pandemic. I don't care if he learns any skills from you. I just want him to laugh and have a good time.” It was an email from a parent I received prior to my online class with Outschool.com on Making Good Choices with Mad Feelings. I assured the mother in my response that we would definitely have a fun time AND her son would also learn some great skills to help manage his angry feelings.
Not only did we howl, bark and growl our mad feelings out to see what it would FEEL like being a dog releasing anger, but we drummed it out, shook it out, squeezed it out with a sponge, breathed it out, colored it out, and danced it out. Everyone showed what their mad feelings looked like by holding our papers up to the computer screen. They oooed and awwed when I demonstrated that blowing buggles when mad makes tiny bubbles with tiny breaths. Getting tension out and feeling calm makes big bubbles!
Children in different states and countries were seeing that other children who looked different than they do were having the very same upset and angry feelings about the pandemic. Learners avidly participated in these new experiences with enthusiasm. We laughed several times at the antics we created with each other. Having FUN and being creative kept their attention. It also provided a good connection of togetherness that we could FEEL. 3D learning is priceless in a pandemic!
The Washington Post, when speaking about the pandemic and educational crisis in the sudden switch to online classes, says, “Their worlds have been turned upside down at a time when their brain is growing and changing faster than the speed of sound.” Social emotional learning has never been so needed in the history of our country.”
Some points of interest:
[if !supportLists]1. [endif]One teacher noted, “Social emotional issues should be the foundation of education because it has impact on all subjects. Your holistic approach, Janai, works because it is fun and the children experience the skills for themselves.” In my Superkid Power series, social emotional learning is made easy for teachers as I edutain (entertain-educate) children on a topic. Downloads are provided for the teachers/parents/learners. The first video and downloads are free at www.superkidpower.org
[if !supportLists]2. [endif]Toxic stress buildup needs to be released regularly to lower the chronic tension level causing mental/emotional/physical lack of wellness. “Toxic stress is repeated and persistent activation of the body's fight-or-flight response. Researchers in China have already demonstrated children there were affected by it during the initial stages of fighting the pandemic. Now our children face the same risks.”
[if !supportLists]3. [endif]Feeling bland can be depressing and adds to the toxic stress level. Tension begets tension. Releasing tension in the body relaxes the mind and supports improved thoughts and feelings. The creative state is enhanced when calm. Here is a Progressive Relaxation exercise to use with children for tension/stress release (this and other downloads are available at www.superkidpower.org):
“Close your eyes and pay attention to your body as it breathes slowly, deeply and evenly.......Tighten all the muscles in your face and neck. Feel the tension. You are squeezing it out as you breathe deeply through your belly button into your face and neck. Inhale, breathe in, 1,2,3,4,5. Breathe out, Exhale and release tension...1,2,3,4,5. Tighten your shoulders, arms, and hands. Inhale, 1,2,3,4,5. Exhale 1,2,3,4,5, breathing out all the tight spots of tension. Tighten your chest and stomach. Hold the tension. Breathe in calm, 1,2,3,4,5. Breathe out tension 1,2,3,4,5. Tighten your legs and feet. Inhale through your belly button, 1,2,3,4,5. Exhale 1,2,3,4,5. Pay attention to your body becoming calm. Feel it. Continue breathing slowly, deeply and evenly. Now stretch your muscles and take in a deep breath, filling your body with new energy.......Open your eyes when you are ready. Let's share our experiences. What felt good in that exercise?
For a fun creative spin, provide a body outline for children to color before the relaxation exercise and another one to color after they are relaxed, instructing them to show the difference in how they feel.
Finding positives, laughing, talking about what we are grateful for are included in my classes. Children, even though dismayed about pandemic restrictions, also balance out the negatives when given an opportunity. “I miss my friends. But I am playing more games with my dog and my family.”
Establishing a new beneficial normalcy requires new rituals, new ways to have fun, be creative, positive and connect.
Www.superkidpower.org Free video/downloads, storytime with interwoven skills, relaxation techniques and more.
Www.grandmaboom.com listing of books available on Amazon by Janai Mestrovich aka Grandma Boom
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