Teaching Kids to Understand Self Regulation and Responsibility

 

Sample Lesson from Superkid Power

Teaching Kids to Understand Self Regulation and Responsibility

Key concepts from the curriculum are how to breathe deeply to stay calm and how to use that inner calm to control how to respond to whatever is going on around you. 

First, we teach how to take deep breaths using a 3D prop, called the breathing sphere, that expands and contracts to represent the lungs and diaphragm filling with air along with the teacher counting out the beats of Inhale..1..2..3..4. Hold your breathe..1…2.. and Exhale….1….2….3.  This teaches deep belly button breathing as the basis for staying calm.   Each child takes a turn opening and closing the breathing sphere mimicking the sphere with their own breathing so they immediately start to feel and appreciate self awareness and the power of self control.  It gives them something to concentrate on for the impending commotion exercise.

Next, we tell them that we are going to test their ability to use the breathing exercise to stay calm while there is a large amount of distraction all around them.  We call this ‘staying calm in the middle (or eye) of a storm’.  Each child will have a chance to stay calm in the middle while the rest of the class makes noise and chaos all around them.  We create the commotion by giving everyone in the outer circle a colored punch balloon and instruct them to punch and run and make as much noise as possible.

Each student gets to be the 'eye' of the storm and remain calm by using the breathing sphere to ignore the noise (the storm) brewing all around them. The exercise is essential towards teaching independent action and responsibility and reliance on use of the calming effect of ongoing breathing.  The kids love it.

An important part of experiential learning is to gather feedback that confirms the teaching exercise was understood by the students.  One way to do this is to use ‘body outline’ artwork that allows the kids to express how they were feeling during the eye of the storm exercise. The kids use the body outline to show where the stress is (all around them, denoted by 'X's') and where they feel calm (their heart/their body).  The fact that they can graphically show all the external stress surrounding them and separate that stress from how they are maintaining a calm reaction inside themselves documents they have learned the lesson.

As further evidence that SuperKid Power lessons are working comes from the verbal feedback volunteered by the students. Here's a child's testimonial from a 5 yr. old boy in class: "My Dad gets mad at me all the time and yells real bad, even when it's not my fault.  He always says he's sorry the next day.  Now I know what to do when he's mean to me.  I take a bunch of deep breaths instead of getting upset back." 

The SuperKid Power Guidebook contains 52 similar life skill lessons that are all constructed to use the above ‘3D’ approach.  This means kids get to hear, see and feel a choreographed experience and then express their feeling on paper to show what they have learned.   

Janai encourages strong listening and communication skills.  Setting expectations with her 5 and 6 year olds that they have feelings and goals that can be articulated and shared is important to her.  She believes resilience skills can be taught and her role is to provide a safe environment and nurturing exercises.  Using artwork also provides feedback to the youngsters that their teacher cares enough about them to treat them with mutual respect and appreciation for making the effort to document their thoughts.

Janai Mestrovich, Ashland, OR, (BS/MS, Family & Child Development) has been teaching Early Childhood Education and Social/Emotional Learning for 42 years. She specializes in '3D' experiences, like the eye of the storm exercise, that help her students visualize and feel the lesson as part of the SuperKid Power curriculum.  

SuperKid Artwork Examples for ‘Eye of the Storm’

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Hilary Jacobs Hendel posted:
Janai 'Grandma Boom' Mestrovich posted:

Hillary - WOW! Thank you for letting me know you purchased my book. Moreover, THANK YOU for really 'getting' what it is that I have been doing with children for 42 years! I am extremely passionate about getting these skills into many children's lives. My new website is just getting up. Please check it out because it has a package series of 7 videos, each on a different theme. I am hosting (in costume, of course) and I teach the children about the skill. Downloads are provided for parents and teachers plus the artwork handouts for the children. Only available to download videos and handouts. It is very thorough. The first video lesson and downloads are FREE for people to sample my style and if they like it, they can purchase the package. I am not savvy in marketing so I need help getting the word out about this. Makes it so easy for teachers and parents because I teach the core lesson - they get the tips downloaded on how to reinforce the lesson and integrate it. If you know of a way I can begin to market this with low budget, please let me know. Also there are some audios that can be downloaded with skills. The Superkid Storytime has four stories - amazing with skills and really great stories and music background. Other audios are relaxation/imagery, etc. for self calming. I get so excited for this to spread because I have seen nothing less than miracles occur with children who learn to integrate these skills. I know it is a key for needed changes in our world - to prioritize children and empower them with their own resources when they have the skills to manage themselves and make choices that give health and vitality to their growth. Well, you can see my bandwagon voice is taking over and I could go on for days. Please keep me in mind for speaking, too. I really appreciate your feedback, insights and involvement. Thank you, especially, for understanding my work. Have a wonderful weekend ahead and thank you for all you are doing to help others. (Sorry for the run-on paragraph - when I get going in my enthusiastic way, it just pours out! )

Hi Janai, I will absolutely recommend the book to my patients with children who might benefit. As for marketing on a grander level, I am in the same boat as you. I am merely a psychotherapist in private practice who wrote a book due to my growing outrage that the public receives no emotions education. I got very lucky in that Random House and Penguin UK published my book this year which teaches teenagers and adults through stories and self-help exercises how to work with defenses, core, and inhibitory emotions to achieve greater calm, confidence, and authenticity. I am using social media to get the word out that It's Not Always Depression exists because everyone, parents especially, benefit from emotion education. I show, through the telling of 7 stories from my practice, how people move over their defenses, process childhood trauma, transform inhibitory emotions like anxiety. guilt and shame, and then move through core emotions by paying attention to physical sensations until they process through them. It's good that we know about each other's resources so we can tell others who need the information and want it. I also love teaching the Change Triangle at conferences and talks. But I will absolutely mention your work when I hear of organizations looking for resources for children. Sound good? Warmly, Hilary

Hillary - I love learning more about your work. How fortunate you have had the opportunity to be published by Random House and Penguin UK. So glad for you. I think you and I have been on the same path with emotional education. I will very gladly share with others who could benefit about your book/work. I really appreciate you understanding what my work entails and the importance of doing it at a young age to plant healthy seeds. I'm headed out now to work with kindergarten children at Boys and Girls Club. Worked with 20 preK children this morning in a class - many 3 yr. olds and some 4 year olds. Made it fun and they enjoyed learning about themselves! Warmly right back with good wishes for many lives to be touched by your excellent work, Janai

Janai 'Grandma Boom' Mestrovich posted:

Hillary - WOW! Thank you for letting me know you purchased my book. Moreover, THANK YOU for really 'getting' what it is that I have been doing with children for 42 years! I am extremely passionate about getting these skills into many children's lives. My new website is just getting up. Please check it out because it has a package series of 7 videos, each on a different theme. I am hosting (in costume, of course) and I teach the children about the skill. Downloads are provided for parents and teachers plus the artwork handouts for the children. Only available to download videos and handouts. It is very thorough. The first video lesson and downloads are FREE for people to sample my style and if they like it, they can purchase the package. I am not savvy in marketing so I need help getting the word out about this. Makes it so easy for teachers and parents because I teach the core lesson - they get the tips downloaded on how to reinforce the lesson and integrate it. If you know of a way I can begin to market this with low budget, please let me know. Also there are some audios that can be downloaded with skills. The Superkid Storytime has four stories - amazing with skills and really great stories and music background. Other audios are relaxation/imagery, etc. for self calming. I get so excited for this to spread because I have seen nothing less than miracles occur with children who learn to integrate these skills. I know it is a key for needed changes in our world - to prioritize children and empower them with their own resources when they have the skills to manage themselves and make choices that give health and vitality to their growth. Well, you can see my bandwagon voice is taking over and I could go on for days. Please keep me in mind for speaking, too. I really appreciate your feedback, insights and involvement. Thank you, especially, for understanding my work. Have a wonderful weekend ahead and thank you for all you are doing to help others. (Sorry for the run-on paragraph - when I get going in my enthusiastic way, it just pours out! )

Hi Janai, I will absolutely recommend the book to my patients with children who might benefit. As for marketing on a grander level, I am in the same boat as you. I am merely a psychotherapist in private practice who wrote a book due to my growing outrage that the public receives no emotions education. I got very lucky in that Random House and Penguin UK published my book this year which teaches teenagers and adults through stories and self-help exercises how to work with defenses, core, and inhibitory emotions to achieve greater calm, confidence, and authenticity. I am using social media to get the word out that It's Not Always Depression exists because everyone, parents especially, benefit from emotion education. I show, through the telling of 7 stories from my practice, how people move over their defenses, process childhood trauma, transform inhibitory emotions like anxiety. guilt and shame, and then move through core emotions by paying attention to physical sensations until they process through them. It's good that we know about each other's resources so we can tell others who need the information and want it. I also love teaching the Change Triangle at conferences and talks. But I will absolutely mention your work when I hear of organizations looking for resources for children. Sound good? Warmly, Hilary

Robin M Cogan posted:

Hi @Janai 'Grandma Boom' Mestrovich, I am a school nurse and write a weekly blog called the "Relentless School Nurse" www.relentlessschoolnurse.com. I would love to feature you and your work on my blog! I think my readers would be very interested in your strategies for helping children & school staff to co-regulate. 

Robin - How delightful to hear from you. I would absolutely love to connect with you for your blog. How wonderful you are providing this service to help children and school staff. I have a wonderful success story to share that will be perfect for what you are focusing on. Please let me know how you would like to proceed. My email is janailow@gmail.com  We can email or phone. I will warn you I get very excited about this work and talk fast! Looking forward to this experience!

Hillary - WOW! Thank you for letting me know you purchased my book. Moreover, THANK YOU for really 'getting' what it is that I have been doing with children for 42 years! I am extremely passionate about getting these skills into many children's lives. My new website is just getting up. Please check it out because it has a package series of 7 videos, each on a different theme. I am hosting (in costume, of course) and I teach the children about the skill. Downloads are provided for parents and teachers plus the artwork handouts for the children. Only available to download videos and handouts. It is very thorough. The first video lesson and downloads are FREE for people to sample my style and if they like it, they can purchase the package. I am not savvy in marketing so I need help getting the word out about this. Makes it so easy for teachers and parents because I teach the core lesson - they get the tips downloaded on how to reinforce the lesson and integrate it. If you know of a way I can begin to market this with low budget, please let me know. Also there are some audios that can be downloaded with skills. The Superkid Storytime has four stories - amazing with skills and really great stories and music background. Other audios are relaxation/imagery, etc. for self calming. I get so excited for this to spread because I have seen nothing less than miracles occur with children who learn to integrate these skills. I know it is a key for needed changes in our world - to prioritize children and empower them with their own resources when they have the skills to manage themselves and make choices that give health and vitality to their growth. Well, you can see my bandwagon voice is taking over and I could go on for days. Please keep me in mind for speaking, too. I really appreciate your feedback, insights and involvement. Thank you, especially, for understanding my work. Have a wonderful weekend ahead and thank you for all you are doing to help others. (Sorry for the run-on paragraph - when I get going in my enthusiastic way, it just pours out! )

Janai 'Grandma Boom' Mestrovich posted:
Hilary Jacobs Hendel posted:

This work sounds amazing and I will share it as I get inquiries on what are good trauma-informed approaches to help children. I teach emotion regulation and processing to adults using a tool called the Change Triangle. I am curious about how children too might use the visual of the Triangle to understand the relationship between core emotions, anxiety and protective defenses. And what age this tool could be taught in school health or bio. Thanks for this post.

Hilary - Thanks! It IS amazing! Sounds like you are doing great work, too! It is so needed by all ages. I have a wide variety of approaches/tools I use with preK, K and 1st. The Triangle model you use is great for older students/teens/adults. The young ages I work with would not be able to comprehend the Triangle as it is.....too complex for their comprehension. Everything at the young age is one step and concept at the time. They are just learning about self regulation and it has to be simple and reinforced. I find parents are learning right along with the children in many cases....and that is what I am told by some. Keep up your good work! Thanks for making the world a better place! I appreciate interacting with you!

 

Hi Janai, I bought your book, Superkid Power Guidebook (Superkid Power Series), and I am reading it and loving it!! Many adults too, who had very early trauma, can make use of these exercises and ideas. And they are similar to exercises I already do with adults. Thank you again for your wonderful work! Warmly, Hilary

Hilary Jacobs Hendel posted:

This work sounds amazing and I will share it as I get inquiries on what are good trauma-informed approaches to help children. I teach emotion regulation and processing to adults using a tool called the Change Triangle. I am curious about how children too might use the visual of the Triangle to understand the relationship between core emotions, anxiety and protective defenses. And what age this tool could be taught in school health or bio. Thanks for this post.

Hilary - Thanks! It IS amazing! Sounds like you are doing great work, too! It is so needed by all ages. I have a wide variety of approaches/tools I use with preK, K and 1st. The Triangle model you use is great for older students/teens/adults. The young ages I work with would not be able to comprehend the Triangle as it is.....too complex for their comprehension. Everything at the young age is one step and concept at the time. They are just learning about self regulation and it has to be simple and reinforced. I find parents are learning right along with the children in many cases....and that is what I am told by some. Keep up your good work! Thanks for making the world a better place! I appreciate interacting with you!

 

This work sounds amazing and I will share it as I get inquiries on what are good trauma-informed approaches to help children. I teach emotion regulation and processing to adults using a tool called the Change Triangle. I am curious about how children too might use the visual of the Triangle to understand the relationship between core emotions, anxiety and protective defenses. And what age this tool could be taught in school health or bio. Thanks for this post.

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