A couple of months ago I wrote a blog called, “How to Deal With Bucket Dipping”. It provided insight into how children feel they deal with negative situations. As most schools are opening for a new year, I thought it would be interesting to look at how parents help their children learn strategies to overcome adversity. I talked with a third grader’s mom about her son, Jarrett, and how she and her family helped him learn to decrease his anxiety.
What is Jarrett like as a learner? Jarrett loves to learn new things! He is so determined but also his own worst critic! He had a very hard time in the beginning adjusting to 3rd grade. He’s very social and loves to have conversations, and as you know 3rd grade is a learning and challenging year for not just the students, but also the teachers. It’s work, work, work, and he loves to work but is also ready to play! His favorite subject is Math.
You’re right! It is a challenging year for both students and teachers. Did Jarrett have any particular academic challenges you can tell us about? Jarrett loves to read but only the books he’s interested in. We started working on comprehension, and I started seeing him struggling with the main idea. Especially if it was a story that he didn’t relate to!
What steps did you take to address this issue? I decided to seek outside help with a tutor who would come to my house away from school. We also worked on websites that would help him recognize harder questions that were tricky but making him think more of the main idea in the whole story. Also working on vocabulary words that he had never used before, not to mention what they meant! We had to back away from practicing more on sports and focus a lot more on studying instead of racing to get our homework done.
What alerted you to the fact Jarrett needed some strategies for resilience? He started telling me how his heart would race if he had a test. My middle daughter has testing anxiety and with all the stress that is put on them for the EOG’s, I was determined to help him sooner than later to overcome his anxiety, and it’s still a work in progress.
That’s a tough one. Everybody, adults and children, have to face the racing heart syndrome at least at some point. How did you help him with that? We worked on breathing exercises before the test, and this helped a lot! He is a people pleaser, but he is so hard on himself.
What changes have you seen in Jarrett based on the strategies you implemented? He seems more confident with himself. It helps him just to know he’s doing the best he can and he is in control.
Those are important changes, and they’re huge! Feeling in control brings more confidence, I think. Good for him and good for your family!!