The past year has been one of the most unusual and unprecedented in our lives. For little ones it can be hard to understand, and for teachers to explain, why our lives have changed so drastically and suddenly.
It’s been a tough year for the mental health of teachers and parents, we know it can be difficult to process our own emotions whilst staying strong for those that we teach and care for.
Our team of psychologists have put together some useful tips to keep children calm and focused in the classroom and this period of the “new normal.”
1. Reassure them
During this time children’s emotions will be changing all the time as they adjust to some form of normality again. It is important to let them know that this is perfectly normal and okay to feel confused, frustrated or scared.
Whether in the classroom or at home, encourage children to talk about their feelings and express their emotions. You could try a range of creative activities like painting or drawing to help them communicate difficult emotions such as fear, sadness and anger.
Our Smiling Mind Digital Care Packs are full of activities and worksheets to help channel emotions in a more helpful way.
2. Carry out morning meditations
Beginning the day with a meditation is a great way to bring focus to the classroom and set intentions for the day ahead. Mindfulness can help to remove any lingering emotions from yesterday and pause the worries of tomorrow by helping children focus on the present moment.
Mindfulness isn’t just about paying attention it’s also about how we pay attention. True mindfulness involves an attitude of kindness and curiosity.
Patience and perseverance are required, but not perfection! The more you and your students practice, the easier it becomes and the more content you will all feel.
Try the Bubble Journey in the Smiling Mind app today!
3. Keep firm classroom routines in place
Let them know what they can do to help in and around the classroom. Explain to them the importance of hand washing and how doing such a simple thing is helping to keep people safe. Perhaps you could come up with a class song that you all sing whilst washing your hands to make something fun out of a task that may become mundane.
Keeping structure to the school day is a great way to make sure they feel secure after a tricky and uncertain few months. Consistency is key and a good way to reduce stress and anxiety for children when everything around them may have seemed out of control. The daily structure of a classroom will help you and them resume some kind of normality and to engage with and enjoy the present moment.
4. Make practising gratitude part of your weekend schedule
Carving time into your school day to practise gratitude has benefits for both you and your class. We suggest setting aside half an hour every week for quiet time in the classroom where each child writes down what they are grateful for, before sharing it with their classmates.
In doing this positive and mindful action it will remind the children what they have, rather than what they don’t have, and create a safe environment to do so among their peers in the classroom.
We hope these tips will help you navigate the ‘new normal’ as you head back into the classroom.