Resiliency Techniques in School Practice
NASP Communique’ March/April 2010, volume 38, number 6
Molony, Henwood, & Gilroy (and various website sources as cited, Google images)
· Feeling thermometer or feeling rulers help children rate feeling intensity.
o Have the child create definitions for each area on the thermometer or ruler.
o Help child start to link physical reactions to feelings (mind-body connection).
o Can use for positive and negative emotions. If you focus on positive feelings, helps children identify the types of situations that lead to feeling good.
Develop children’s feelings vocabulary beyond happy, sad, and mad. Use feeling faces cards, worksheets, BINGO games, and coloring pages to teach expanded vocabularies.
Make feelings watches/clocks with children and have them decorate the face and label it with feeling words. Can attach the band with Velcro dots.
o Where are you on your feelings watch? What do you need to do to get to____?
· Remote control prop to illustrate importance of “changing the channel” when negative behaviors start.
· Relaxation training –
o positive imagery/scripts
o progressive muscle relaxation
o deep breathing
Elevator Breathing - Begin by having your children observe the natural inhalation and exhalation of their breath without changing anything, then proceed with the directions.
Day time Follow up: Blow up a real balloon. Show children how it fills up, from the bottom, the middle and finally the top. Let out some air. Watch the balloon deflate from the top, the middle, and the bottom. Explain that they can inflate and deflate the air of their imaginary balloon (in their bellies and chest) in the same way.
· Thought bubbles – use stick figure drawings and/or situation cards to help children realize that many different thoughts are possible for any given event.
o Example – picture of a child at the free throw line in a basketball game. What would the thought bubble say? What happened next? How did the stick figure’s thoughts affect what happened?
o Help children understand the connection between thoughts and actions.
· Cover all the bases – use a baseball diamond or dominoes to illustrate a cognitive model with bases representing: 1) thought, 2) emotion, 3) physical sensation, and 4) behavior. Helps children understand the relationships between the four variables.
· Thought records – like “changing caterpillar thoughts into butterfly thoughts” helps children take control of their thoughts and outcomes.
o Four columns: event, negative thought, feeling, positive thought/reframe
o For older students add two more columns after negative thought: evidence to support the negative thought, evidence against it.
· Ms. Stakes Talks – for children with perfectionism tendencies. Talk about feelings involved with making mistakes. Then have children identify people they admire and mistakes they have made. Ask, “What are the good parts of making a mistake?”
· “Own It” Pie Charts – for children with attribution problems (they assume all or no responsibility for behavior). Slice the pie into the different possible reasons for a negative event and assign “percentages” for each reason.
Who is to blame for the group science project not getting done on time?
· Daily journal of accomplishments – at the end of the day they decide what to write. Encourage them to think about ways they were extra helpful, kind, polite.
· Predicting how long – many children rush through tasks or feel overwhelmed at the start of a task. Ask them to predict how long a task will take them and use a timer to find out. Afterwards, talk about what helped or hindered them and what they can do differently or more of next time.
· Empathy training – use fictional characters experiencing different emotions or stressors from books/movies. Discuss the characters’ feelings.
· Building empathy is an important part of building resiliency in children. Students learn there are several ways to handle a difficult situation and different people have different emotions and behaviors.