Can You Only Help One Kid At A Time?

You are a teacher or parent with more than one child that you are responsible for. You wish you could help everyone at once, but you can't. You wish you could spend more time with one child because you know they could benefit from more one-on-one time. The great thing is, you CAN help everyone at the same time, if you teach kids how to help themselves.

Kids need to be given constructive choices in awareness and compassion when your time is being taken up by one child. Here's what HMHB suggests kids do when you have to take time with one student to help them with a problem or a feeling.

GIVE SPACE: Kids can "give space" which basically means, step away from the student having a hard time, and give them the space to work with the teacher one on one, or the space to help themselves. Many children want to hug or touch someone as an act of empathy in these moments, but really the best thing to do in order for that person to really work on the feeling is to give them space physically, and with quiet.

OBSERVE THE INTERACTION: Kids can actively and quietly observe everything you are doing to help this student if it is appropriate. In HMHB we try and make examples of feelings that come up in the moment in individuals to the entire group, because it is an excellent way to learn what to look for inside that we can work on in each of us, and it actually helps address in a non-threatening manner issues like defensiveness, impulse control, and lack of listening. It also fosters group support because there is an understanding of "oh this person is just having a this feeling come up and they need to work on it." Seeing feelings and working on feelings in the moment should become common place, and when we address them on the spot without ridicule or secretiveness, it gives kids confidence to work on themselves. When kids observe you being patient and trying to reinforce the face it & erase it tools with someone, it teaches them to do the same. You don't want kids observing what you're doing with one child when the issue is very private, or if the child experiencing the issue has a difficult time with others observing them.

WATCH YOUR OWN REACTIONS: The greatest thing kids can do when you are working with someone else is to look at their OWN reactions to the situation. Does it make them frustrated or impatient that they don't have your attention? Does it make them sad because someone else is sad? Do they feel like they need to discipline/police the person you are trying to help or fellow classmates? Do they feel like they have to do something to distract you to get your attention? Encourage each child to really notice how they are reacting to all situations, and especially these situations when you are helping someone else. This becomes an incredibly productive moment for everyone when they take the opportunity to work on their reactions with the face it & erase it tools. This is so productive, that you don't ever have to feel guilty for taking this time again, because everyone was helped by this situation that took your attention to one child (but if you do feel guilty or rushed at any point YOU break this anxiety with the face it & erase it tools!)

GIVE LIGHT: A very kind and helpful action an entire group can take when one person is having a hard time is to imagine that person filled and surrounded by brilliant white light. This can help break up negative energy in the body and help to balance someone who is being taken over by emotions. This is an incredibly productive compassionate act that an entire group can do to actually "lift up" someone else.