“Being a Kid is What You’re Good at Now” — Validating Children’s Growth
November 15, 2015
Reminding them that growth is gradual is sometimes just a song away!
“Sometimes I need a little help, but there’s so much I can do…”
Recognizing that it’s ok to need some help while remembering what we “can” do during frustrating moments can be encouraging for children. “If at first we don’t succeed, try, try again” is a mantra we hear often. Do you have a “go-to mantra” that you use during times like these with your kids/students?
“I know, I know….someday that I’ll grow…I’ll grow, I’ll grow….someday, I know!”
Instilling perseverance, validating growth, providing emotional support and building confidence in young children can be easy with the right song–like “I Know I’ll Grow” from the album, “I Know I’ll Grow….” (2009).
“Someone makes my food…and cuts it up for me–and I need someone to lift me up sometimes so I can see…”
Kids benefit from knowing that everyone is always learning. We never stop–and it’s important to appreciate what we can do independently.
“…but I can build a tower, and I can throw a ball…but when I was a baby…I couldn’t even crawl!”
Children can feel deflated or disappointed when attempting to master a new skill. Reminding them of things they couldn’t do when they were younger often helps to remind them of the growth they have already achieved/experienced.
“I’m a little kid, and I can play with you…sometimes I need a little help, but there’s so much I can do!”
No matter what children experience, it’s helpful to their emotional and vocabulary growth when their feelings are identified and validated by an adult (“You’re feeling proud of your hard work!”, or “You’re frustrated that your tower fell down after all of your hard work.”). Parents/teachers can demonstrate to children how to identify their feelings with language (“I feel so frustrated right now!” or “I feel so appreciative right now!”), providing a reference point for when they want to express themselves. This can also help them feel understood, and facilitate a healthy transition through their growing experiences.
“Being a kid is what you’re good at now!”
Mantras are great, and often work well–but adding music to meaningful words adds that extra layer of focus and positivity that helps us relax ourselves a little while we learn to put experiences and feelings into perspective.
Here’s a glimpse of “I Know I’ll Grow” in action (and a true story!):
Picture a Kindergarten classroom. A 4-year-old girl has invested a great deal of time into building (and rebuilding) an “as tall as I am” tower out of blocks. Just when the tower is up to her shoulders, it collapses for the umpteenth time, and so does her patience. The teacher has been watching, and decides to intervene.
“You seem frustrated. Can I help?”
Child (crying): “I hate this tower!”
Teacher: “Ah. I was right. You’re feeling VERY frustrated with building this tower. What’s making you feel frustrated?”
Child: “It keeps falling! I am the WORST at making towers!”
Teacher: “I can see that you have been working hard, and you’re frustrated with building this tower. What was your plan for the tower?”
Child: “I was trying to make it as tall as me, but every time it is almost done, it falls over!”
Teacher: “You feel frustrated when the tower falls.”
Child (sniffing): “Yeah.”
Teacher: “I know how that feels. We all feel like that sometimes. You’re very tall, so it must be hard to balance so many of these small blocks to be as tall as you. It would probably be less frustrating if you were much smaller.”
Child (thinking): “Like a baby?”
Teacher: “Yes. But can a baby build a tower as high as you can?”
Child (laughing): “No, babies can’t build towers!”
Teacher: “So…when you were a baby, you couldn’t build a tower like you can now, right?”
Child: “Right, but my tower still fell down and I’m still mad.”
Teacher: “I hear your frustration. That’s part of learning. You have learned to make great towers through practice, since you were a baby. Practice means making mistakes. Mistakes make us try to do things differently. You’re growing and learning.”
Child (thinking): “I make much bigger towers now because I’m growing.”
Teacher: “It’s like the song, “I Know I’ll Grow”– I can build a tower, and I can throw a ball…but when I was a baby, I couldn’t even crawl”
Teacher and child together (singing): “I know, I know….someday, I’ll grow!”
–This example comes directly from my years teaching Kindergarten–and that little girl’s lesson about growth helped pave the way for many more growing experiences. I wonder if she sings that song with her baby now?
My song, “Wonderful You” is another self-esteem building, supportive song that equips children with ideas and reassurance that can help them to remember how to face the world with confidence.
From ONE TIME THROUGH: How to Teach Kids to Value and Accept Feelings
From NOT JUST CUTE: Verbalizing Emotions