How can you help your student/child?
We are often encouraged to change the environment to suit the student’s needs or even attempt to change the student to suit the environment. If you’ve ever been caught up in this frustrating cycle, you’ll know that neither option works long term.
I believe that the best way to support our children is to teach them to identify their own needs and then teach them strategies to cope. These may include skills like; emotional tracking and strategies, sensory recognition and tools/strategies or how to recognise a problem that requires adult help and how to ask for it.
In real world situations, we have clear rules and laws that allow us to make educated desicions about our behaviour choices. We choose the behaviour, we know the consequence e.g. you speed in your car; you get a ticket. It is important to provide the same clarity for students. Consistency in expectations and consequences, preferably school wide, gives the student the best chance at success in school years and beyond.
We can implement this school wide strategy by introducing: 1) Simple clear rules that cover everything, such as Be Kind, Be Fair, Be Safe, Have Fun. 2) Clear consequences e.g. peg chart. 3) Restorative conversation stationery/scripts such as think sheets.
How these tools are introduced can make or break their success. If they are explained as positive tools that will help you understand your options and help you to make positive choices for positive outcomes for your own happiness instead of punishments for bad behaviour, they will be well received. We all love consistency and need boundaries to know what is expected of us so that we can make conscious choices armed with all the information we need.
To help us comprehend the need for positivity surrounding rules, look at it this way, if a child is struggling to understand a math concept, we provide the support, time and tools to encourage them. Not understanding behaviour choices should be viewed in the same way. Think about how you like to receive support in the work place, would you work better when your boss calmly points out where your work could improve and offers advice or if they made threats and gave punishments.
There are always consequences to our actions and we can encourage students to make choices that will bring them the best outcome for their own happiness and of the happiness of those they care about.