PBIS Topics: Dealing with Disappointment

disappointed

When we are little it is hard to understand and process disappointment.  As adults, who love and care for our students, we want to protect our children from this experience as much as we can.  However, learning how to cope with disappointment and regulate our emotions is important to our children’s growth and development.
Helping children identify and normalize feelings of disappointment is good practice as a teacher.  Identifying the emotion of disappointment and events that trigger these feelings  helps children to understand and regulate their emotions.
Children in kindergarten often feel disappointed when they don’t get to be first, when they have to take turns with a prized toy, when they do not win a game, or have to wait.  “I wanted the pink cupcake!!”
disappointed wanted to win
Having clear procedures in place that you have practiced and made routine is the first defender against disappointment.   However, it is also important to identify and acknowledge events that trigger disappointment in our young children.  Let your students know that it is normal to feel disappointed.
It is also important for students to learn that they have a choice to make when they feel disappointed.  Teach your children that they can choose to be calm.
disappointed choice
Regular practice with self regulation strategies gives our children the power to use these tools and strategies when they need them most!
disappointed calm
Teach healthy strategies for dealing with disappointment:
  • Deep breathing:  Teach students to “Smell the cookies through their nose and blow out the candles through their mouth.”  Practice this breathing technique regularly, so that when disappointment strikes, your students know what to do!
  • Take a break:  Teach students to take a short break when they feel disappointment.
    Students can take a walk, get a drink, or squeeze a stress ball.
  • Have a quiet area in the room where students can sit with a pillow or read a book for a few minutes.  I have a box in the room filled with social stories about behavior that we have already read as a class.  These are great reading choices for the students when they need a break because they are filled with reminders on how to make the right choice.
  • Make sure to choose strategies that you can manage as a teacher and set limits on what is an acceptable choice during a break.  For instance, my students suggested playing with toys as a way to calm themselves, so we talked that through.  “Why do you think playing with toys might not be a good way to calm yourself when you are disappointed?”  The students were spot on with their answer, “Because you might break them when you are really upset.”
  • Have a safe seat:  When a student is not able to regulate their emotions and has erupted in a fit of disappointment, it is important to have a safe seat in the room where their behavior can be contained and ignored while you continue on with instruction in the classroom.  Depending on the level of escalation, you may need a plan to remove the student from the room.  Especially if they are in danger of damaging property, hurting themselves or others.  It is important to work closely with your intervention team, the school psychologist, and your administration when a child escalates to such a high degree.

disappointment red

Sometimes a student looks like they have calmed down, only to reengage with requests for you, the teacher, to sooth or “fix it” by giving the child what they wanted.  “Can I have it now!?”  Often a child will escalate again when the request is denied, because they have not truly worked through their feelings of disappointment and arrived at a place of calm.  Trying to fix things when a child is upset takes away their opportunity to learn to deal with disappointment in healthy ways.

Once some time has passed, your student is calm and has moved on, it is important to let them know how proud you are of them for making good choices.  “I like the way you took deep breaths and chose to be calm. Thank you.”

disappointment choose to be calm

Load up on social stories and children’s books that deal with topics of disappointment.  Here are some good titles to get you started:

I also made a simple social story to read to my class about disappointment.  Reading this book has helped all my students identify their feelings, behaviors, and regulate their emotions of disappointment.  They know now that they have a choice and they have tools to help them make that choice.
disappointed
Click on the image to see the story on TpT.

 

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Animals 2X2: New and Improved!

Every year that I’ve been creating curriculum packets, I learn more, which is wonderful, it makes me a better teacher, but then it also compels me to go back through curriculum that I have out there and make changes.  I aspire to be as good as some of the amazing teachers out there blogging, creating, and working as teachers.

Summer has started, and I’ve dived back into some of the packets that I’ve been wanting to update.  I’ve finished the Goldfish and Worm packet… for this year at least!  I love science and so this has been at the top of my list for some time now 🙂

earthworms and red worms preview

I’ve updated the look, expanded the ‘big’ questions that you can explore with your class, and created some fact pages that you can make into a book and use as a guide as you and your students go through the units.

goldfish and guppies preview

Clipart generally becomes one of the biggest challenges to creating curriculum for me.  I’ve learned how to make my own drawings, scan them, and photoshop them as a supplement.  My daughter actually made most of the art for both of these packets, which as awesome.  Below is her beautiful goldfish.

goldfish sample page

I still a beginner with photoshop, so I am sure as I continue to work with it, as with anything, I’ll get better, learn new tricks, and then find myself back in older documents, updating my work.  I tend to do best with scientific drawings, though they can be somewhat rudimentary.  I am live in a house full of artists, so I am hoping, as with blogging, I’ll get better as I go, develop a personal style that I feel comfortable with, and learn all the tools I need to make work I am proud of and that other teachers enjoy.

worm clipart sampleCan you tell who drew the picture of the adult worm and who drew the hatchling and cocoon?  Which was mother and which was daughter?  At least I got the job done and the science across.

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The kids art, of course, is always my most favorite.

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Happy learning!