Show You Care on Valentine’s Day.
First, a bit about last week’s surprise, which came on a day that should have been a snow day. 30 centimeters (about 12″) of snow kept falling and falling, making the roads and sidewalks super slippery. Half the kids were absent. But school was on so I braved the storm and went to teach yoga.
Second, you have to know that in my toddler yoga class we finish with the toddlers coming up for a hug, it’s a little routine we all love. This study shows how Depriving Babies of Cuddles Does Long Term Harm. Hugging is an acceptable practice with this age group.
Also know, two weeks ago, 7 kids moved from the toddler room (walking – 36 months) to the preschool room (3 – 5 yrs). In the preschool room hugs are not part of the routine, teachers reduce hugging as the kids get older.
The Spontaneous Hug
However, the day of the storm, with so many children away, and so many new toddlers there, spontaneous hugging broke out at the end of the preschool yoga class.
Now, here’s where I got surprised. It was something a 4 year old boy said. He kept coming back for more hugs. Every time a space opened up in front of me, there he was with a big smile and his arms out. This continued until all the kids who wanted a hug got a hug. The boy probably had five hugs and remained alone with a big smile. He said, “Can you stay all day and give me hugs?”
The reason I was surprised was because that type of big statement is usually the kind I make. He had taken my line!
A Fun Classroom Management Tip
Whenever the kids ask for something, if I can’t give them what they want for real, I give them what they ask for in a wish or a fantasy. It’s a trick I learned in this this wonderful classroom management book.
So if the kids say something like:
Kids: “No, don’t end class. Can we do one more song?”
I’ll respond: “Wouldn’t it be great if I could stay all day and we could do yoga and songs all day!”
To which they all cheer, YES!
I agree that it would be awesome and once that feeling is acknowledged by all of us, it is much easier to say, “Alas, there are other kids waiting for their yoga class.”
Granting Wishes as Classroom Management
Giving kids what they want in a Wish is an effective strategy for classroom management. Without it I don’t know how I’d deal with all the kids’ requests I receive. Here’s another common example:
Child: “Miss Yoga, can we do (kids suggestion of a pose or activity) now!”
Wish Granting Yoga Teacher: “Would you like to have a class where you got to pick all the poses?”
Wish Granting Yoga Teacher: “That would be fun. I’ll plan a class like that another time. Now lets do (the lesson plan).”
It’s much easier to move on when the feeling has been acknowledged. So I was surprised when the boy went straight to the big wish.
Acknowledging Feelings as Classroom Management
Usually I’m the one taking it up a notch, now here stands this 4 year old with his big wish: “Can you stay all day and give me hugs?”
Do you know what I said?
“I wish I could because I really like being with you.”
I got one more hug, and then the boy joined the line-up leaving for playtime in the gym. I didn’t need to say anything else.
On days like this, even with a miserable snow storm going on, it feels like teaching kids yoga is the greatest job on earth.
For Valentine Day this week consider surprising your kids by granting them a wish or a fantasy. Just like in yoga, acknowledging feelings helps release resistance and everyone feels good.
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