Thursday, January 28, 2016

Circle Back

As a teacher, I know that when my students don't understand a concept, I may need to circle back and reteach. Or, months into a school year, they may forget key concepts, strategies, or, you know, how to function as human beings.

As a mom, I am still developing this skill.

Over the summer and again in the fall, my tender-hearted boy had some bouts of time where he was...uh...more violent than others. It started with him being very much of the, "I didn't start the fight, but I'll finish it," variety and moved towards the, "Sure, I'll start i, sounds fun" mentality.

So, we worked on it. We got books on kindness from the library. We talked on the way to and from school about what it means to be a good friend and what behaviors, specifically, he planned to address.

"What does it mean to be a good friend?"

"I do not hit my friends."

"What do you do if someone hits you?"

"Run away."

"What do you do if you feel like hitting someone?"

"Run away."

And things got better.

We gradually phased out the heavy talk around kindness and friendship and got back to our usual routine of, "What are you going to do at school today?"

"Play with my friends."


"What's one good thing that happened at school today?"

"I played house with H, and she was the mommy, and I was the daddy, and J was the baby, and E was the dog." (names abbreviated - he does, in fact, go to school with children who have names that are longer than initials...).

And then, life happened, and family visited, and the holidays rolled in with ALL OF THE CRAZY.

And we let the boy be himself. He ran. He jumped. He rode horses. He played "tackling" with all of his grandfathers.

But those behaviors don't work at school, and he's three, and he has trouble separating home from school. It's my job to teach him that, again, again, and again.

The reports from teachers started again, ""

I remembered: I need to circle back and reteach.  

"What are you not supposed to do at school?"


"How can you be a good friend?"

"Not growl."

Slowly, but surely, we will regain the ground we lost.

And in the background, we will give him the time he needs to growl and jump and chase and tackle and help him learn when his wildness can roar its mighty roar, and when it must be quiet.

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