|Focus on a cloud - MM Sikes|
At school the children are unable to focus and concentrate due to this stress. They suffer from headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, and emotional problems.
A way to overcome these problems is to teach coping strategies. Teaching children to take a deep breath was one of the strategies mentioned.
I had to smile because for a number of years I've been using that strategy in my art classroom. As soon as the children come in and sit down I have them close their eyes, take a deep breath and focus on something. It might be a star, a cloud, a circle, a colored dot, a square--whatever seems appropriate for the day's art work. I want them to relax and concentrate. Some of them are coming in from outside or from a physical education class, so they really need a moment to relax and regroup.
When I first started doing this little relaxing exercise, I planned to do it just for the day and then I decided to do it for another week or so. But then I found it worked well with them to help gain focus and the children came in expecting to do it. Now I am seeing it as more important than ever. It's a little like the deep breathing exercises used in yoga which also help with focus and relaxation.
The NBC program concluded with the suggestion that the child might have a positive mantra to say to himself or aloud. The suggestion was, "Go away, worries; don't bother me."
Perhaps I should add a mantra to my relaxing exercise. It might be, "Focus and let my creativity flow."
My wish and hope is for children who have a time to decompress at home and a place to feel unstressed in my art classroom.