At this time of year children are preparing for important exams and the next stage in their young lives. How can we help them to feel confident about these changes and prepare them to be resourceful even when we are not around?
- They need to be internally referenced. Rather than being influenced by those around them and relying on others for reassurance and praise, encourage them to check in with their own values before making decisions. Ask them, ‘what do you think?’, ‘What do you think you could do?’
- We tend to praise our children a great deal nowadays but how specific are you with your feedback? Make your observations full and detailed in order that they learn to acknowledge their strengths and build their self confidence. Say ‘I noticed how well you ………….’.
- Show them how to anchor a resourceful state so when they feel overwhelmed they can access a calm and confident state.
- Ask them to choose an action they can use as their anchor such as squeezing their earlobe.
- Now ask them to think of a time when they felt really brave, confident, strong and in control. You will want to use their own words for the resource they need to anchor.
- When they have thought of a really good example of the feeling they want; ask them to close their eyes and imagine themselves in that situation now where the feeling was strongest. Tell them to do the action when it is at its height and remove the action as the memory fades away.
- You can build on their memory by prompting them with
- How does it feel?
- Who is there?
- What are you thinking?
- What are you doing?
- They should repeat this 3 or 4 times until the action and the memory are linked firmly in their mind.
- Invite them to use a metaphor for how they are feeling at the moment. ‘Preparing for these exams is like what?’ When you understand how they are feeling, you will know what skills and resources you can anchor with them and what feedback will be most helpful.
- Lastly, avoid generalising, deleting and distorting e.g. ‘You make me so cross when I see you messing around rather than revising’ (distortion)or ‘You will wish you’d worked harder’ (distortion) ‘you aren’t doing any revision’ (deletion) or ‘All your friends will be working hard revising’ (generalisation).
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