At Holy Spirit we encourage our children to regulate their own emotions. Whilst fully supporting our children with their emotions, feelings and any problems, we teach our children that all feelings are okay - whether they be ‘comfortable’ like happy or excited, or whether they be ‘uncomfortable’ like sad or angry. However, the behaviours that we display when reacting to these feelings can be ‘okay behaviours’ like seeking help or saying “no, thank you” or they can be ‘not okay behaviours’ like hitting or screaming at someone. When we feel an uncomfortable feeling like angry, it’s sometimes hard to calm down. However, calming down when we feel angry, upset or distressed is an important first step!
BBuddies are an amazing bunch of children who encourage everyone to follow the fair play rules, have fun and include everyone at play times! They go out of their way to be kind to others and to help others feel more comfortable.
Our coach met with the children, in Year 4 who wanted to be a BBuddy, and delivered training to them. They were trained to help teach children new games and to problem solve using the PATHS strategies. They learnt:
- what characteristics they need to be a PATHS Pal
- games to play on the playground and during wet play
- how to look out for children who are lonely or hurt, and
- what to do to help.
If your child is a BBuddy, be sure to ask them how they help other children to feel happier and more included on our playground (Proud parent moment!).
Our BBuddies are on the playground to help us, help ourselves – they’re not there to solve our problems but to help us recognise how we feel and what we can do to solve it or feel better. They are also there to help us to play games.
In Reception and Year 1, we teach the children to ‘Do Turtle’ which is a technique used to help them calm down independently and to let an adult know they are feeling distressed. It encourages the children to be reflective (stop and think) when feeling uncomfortable and demonstrates to the children that they can learn to control their own behaviours. Children are taught the same technique that Twiggle teaches his friends to do, in the stories that they listen to in their PATHS lessons.
From Year 2 onwards the children use our 3 steps for Calming Down poster and our Control Signals Poster to help them. Being able to stop and calm down is very important for solving problems. If we don’t calm down, we cannot think about ways to solve our problem. After we calm down, we still have a problem, but now we can think about how to solve it.
With the children, we talk about behaviours and having control over them. We know that some behaviours are OKAY, and some behaviours are NOT OKAY and that behaviours are things that we can choose to do or choose not to do. However, sometimes it is difficult to have control over our behaviour, especially if our feelings are strong. We explore different ways for gaining self-control and the concept of calming down – remember every child is different, ask your child which method they use.
The red light is the first step of our Control Signals Poster and with this step the children know to use the 3 steps for Calming Down. The yellow light reminds us to take our time, to think and to make a plan (this could be to tell an adult or a friend for example). The green light tells us to go and try our plan. We link our poster to the idea of being in a car at traffic lights – the red means stop, the yellow means slow, and the green means go.
Sometimes, our plan might not always work – but remember and reinforce that this is okay! If the plan doesn’t work, we can go back to the yellow light to think of a new plan and then move on to green again. However, sometimes when our plan doesn’t work this can reignite those uncomfortable feelings. Again, this is okay! In this instance we would take ourselves back to the red light and begin the process again. Our children are becoming masters in using this process to help with their emotions – using them at home would reinforce that self-regulation and independence.
Here are some games that we can play together; maybe you could play them at home too!
Don't forget to check out our Twitter page, every day, to see the wonderful work that our BBuddies do...