In many of our #HelloGardeners episodes, a common piece of advice is to find a parent, teacher, or a trusted adult and tell them what’s going on. Children come to us for security and support - we need to be prepared to listen and respond appropriately.
When a child approaches you, and wants to talk in private or seems nervous even about asking you to talk, that should be a sign that THIS IS IMPORTANT! Even if it doesn’t seem important, the fact that he or she is bringing it up means it’s important to him or her.
LISTEN. Listen with more than just your ears - pay attention to body language and facial expression. Try to read between the lines in case something bigger is happening.
RESPOND. If you see something concerning, such as a fearful child, re-establish their safety. If you see a child is anxious, re-establish the calm - take deep breaths, remind them that everything is going to be okay, tell them they are safe.
ACT. Offer some sort of solution. You might not have all of the answers, but you can provide a next step. Maybe this is a meeting with the other child involved in the conflict, maybe this is offering a safe space for the child to calm down, maybe this is a hug. Offer something.
CHECK-IN. If the conflict warrants it, repeatedly check in with the child. Make sure they feel heard, supported, and loved.
When we encourage gardeners (of any age!) to open up to us and be vulnerable, we need to be there. A weed can’t fully be pulled until there is some closure, and a seed can’t be planted until a solution is offered. So, be there, listen, respond, act, check-in.
Sometimes all a child might need is a minute to breathe and a few mantras to repeat. So below we have a Mantra Card craft - this can be done in your classroom, around the kitchen table, at a friend’s house - wherever!
Here's what you’ll need:
A sturdy piece of card stock (any size you like) or an index card
A permanent marker
Colored pencils or markers for decorating
Ask your gardeners to write down some mantras that might help them feel better during tough times.
Here are some examples:
I am calm and peaceful
You are okay
I love myself
I am safe
Take a deep breath
I can do it!
Write the mantras in permanent marker, and decorate your card with pictures that make you feel good - flowers, hearts, kittens, your family, your skateboard, etc.
Kids can keep this card in their backpacks or teachers can tape it to the students' desks. Sometimes all we need is a little reassurance and when we can look at a card like this, that is made 100% for us, we hear exactly what we need to hear in those overwhelming moments.
Thank you for being the trusted adults you are and don't hesitate to send us some pictures of your mantra cards! We would love to see them. You can watch Episode 6 and all of the other #HelloGardener episodes here - and give us a big thumbs up if you like what you see!
Remind your kids, your students, your nieces & nephews, and yourself that the future is BRIGHT!