Whew! These first few weeks of school have been wonderful as I get to know my new learners. Beginning the year with a room full of brand new kindergartners is hard work!
I am a firm believer in putting in all the hard work the first few weeks of school to really teach our classroom behaviors and procedures. I love the quote from Fred Jones…
With that being said, I wanted to share with you some tips and tricks I use in my classroom to help my kinders regulate their emotions and calm down.
First, before anyone is upset, we learn about our feelings. We talk about what it looks like to be happy, mad, sad, embarrassed, frustrated, etc. I really try to emphasis that none of these emotions are bad. That’s the way God made us. But when we are feeling “revved up” it’s what we do with those emotions that can get us in to sticky situations.
This year I used this adorable cube from Target as we talked about each emotion. We also drew faces on an anchor chart to help us see what we were describing.
The next day, we talked about being “revved up” or “running on empty” with our emotions. Our wonderful school counselor gave me the idea for these “gas tanks”. Each kiddo made their own as we talked about staying in the green zone.
Again, it’s important to stress to your students that it isn’t bad to be in the blue or red zones, but that is a sign to us that we need to use some strategies to help us calm down.
Here are a few of my favorite:
- Breathing. We breathe in as we “smell the flower” and breathe out as we “blow the candle”. And, yes, I use an actual rose and candle to help the kiddos learn. I suggest 10 breaths to start. But then after they get the hang on it, we have this laminated reference card. Just click the picture below to download.
- Sensory Bottles. Sometimes just removing ourselves from a situation and taking a minute to focus on something else really can help. My students know where we keep these bottles and that they can use them to take a break when they need to.
- Drawing A Picture. I use this technique a lot even after a child has acted rashly with an emotional outburst. It really helps them reflect on what happened and what they can do differently next time.
- Wall Pushes. Sometimes there is pent up anger that needs to come out in a positive way. Have your student stand shoulder width apart and use both hands to push all of their intense emotions into the wall. I try to lighten the mood by having the students pick somewhere far away. I tell them that they sent all of that emotion to China (or wherever they chose) and it won’t weigh them down anymore! You can even put handprints on the wall as a good visual reminder.
It is really great to see my kindergarteners already taking control of their emotions and learning to manage them in healthy ways. I hope some of these tips and tricks can help your little lovies too!