Managing the Highs and Lows
As a parent or teacher, it can be difficult to manage the highs and lows gifted children are experiencing right now. Their minds are going in many different directions in response to their environment. Sometimes, they withdraw to ponder and contemplate on the information they are taking in. At other times, their bodies and minds are so stimulated they cannot sleep, focus, or otherwise engage properly in their relationships with others.
Dr. Paul Beljan has some words of wisdom to help us through these times:
Now is the time for patience, squared. If you are getting frustrated with your child, and you will, try and take a time out before interacting while angry. Help the child to process their feelings beyond what they say. Their behavior is often a meta-message that you can try to state back to them. Often simply naming a child’s feelings can calm them down. For example, “You are frustrated right now. You’d like things back to the way they were.”
(For more with Dr. Beljan, join his session on Understanding Gifted Students’ Response to these Uncertain Times of Change as part of the AAGT INFORMS SERIES webcast on September 9, 2020, 4:00-5:00 pm. Register on our website: AAGT Informs Page)
Self-care is as important as our responsibility to care for others. Parents and teachers are also experiencing stress and anxiety and yes, anger for the uncertainty of this moment in time. Can we as adults, also be allowed to take a time out to process our feelings? Yes, we can and should!
I recently watched a video featuring Carol Ann Tomlinson, speaking about meeting the needs of students you are teaching online. For parents and teachers and all who are involved in the education of our students, here is a bit of advice paraphrased from Dr. Tomlinson:
You are doing really important work under really difficult circumstances in a really stressful time. Remember how much you are accomplishing and give yourself credit for that. Lead from your heart as well as your brain. Talk, share, laugh with kids… it is worth your time.
Below is the video to her talk. It applies to all of us trying to manage the chaos right now.