"Smell the Cookies" (How to Take a Deep Breath)
Children often hear adults say, "Just take a breath!" and know that is a good way to calm down but aren't sure how to go about it. I teach students to think of smelling cookies as a trick to taking a deep breath. I have them make a plate with their hands and place some imaginary fresh cookies on the plate. They then smell them for a count of five and say "ahh!" for a count of five. I tell them sometimes just smelling the cookies once will make them feel better. Sometimes it takes smelling the cookies twenty times! But taking a deep breath (by smelling cookies!) will always work eventually.
"Stop, Think, Act!" Self Control Strategy
Students in second grade recently practiced their best self control while trying to "earn" a second marshmallow by not eating the first before they were given permission. We learned various self control strategies during the lesson and students were taught to think of a stoplight to help them remain in control of their actions.
Don't Get Hooked Strategies (How To Handle a Tease or Put-down)
In fourth and fifth grade, students are encouraged to "not get hooked" by a tease or put-down by choosing a Simon's Hook strategy to help them respond in a healthy way to others trying to get an unhealthy reaction from them. Students are taught that by using one or more of the Simon's Hook strategies, they remain in control of the situation and "stay a free fish" instead of allowing the "fisherman" to have the power.
1. Do little or nothing (don't respond to the hook)
2. Agree with the hook
3. Distract or change the subject
4. Laugh or make a joke (just make sure to not throw hooks back!)
5. Walk away
The De-bugging System:
1. Ignore (don't react).
2. Move away (in a calm way).
3. Talk friendly. (Say "I could use some space right now.")
4. Talk firmly. (Use your "teacher voice". Say, "I feel _____ when you ______. Please ____.")
5. Get adult help after you are sure you did each step correctly!