I recently went on a field trip with my youngest son, Matthew, and his second-grade class. We visited a nature preservation site with trails, animal exhibits, and a small aquarium. As one of the overseeing parents for a group of six classmates, I quickly realized the importance of providing direction and purpose in such distraction-rich environments.
One particular child in our group was brimming with excitement, darting from one area to the next. I affectionately called him our "flight risk" and we had to be on constant alert. To keep him focused and organized, we requested a scavenger hunt list from the desk.
And let me tell you, it was a game changer!
Our full-of-life group member (aka our "flight risk") took command of the scavenger hunt!
With the list in hand, we knew where he would be going and what he would be looking for. He had a clear direction and purpose, and it made all the difference.
This experience made me reflect on how often our little ones are labeled as having "behaviors" in public or group settings. But have we provided them with a direction or purpose?
Let me share another example from my own childhood.
During the summer, my twin brother and I would walk with our dad to church. While waiting in the sanctuary for our mom and older brother to arrive, he would give each of us a hymnal and tell us the page number to turn to. It became a race between us to see who could get to the page first. It may have been a simple competition, but it provided us with direction and purpose, keeping us engaged and preventing any disruptions.
Do the children on your caseload have direction and purpose? Take a moment to reflect on this, and you might be surprised by the impact it can have on their behavior and engagement.
By providing clear guidance, goals, and tasks, we empower children to channel their energy and focus, transforming potential "behaviors" into meaningful participation. We can help them feel engaged rather than making them feel as if they are merely a bystander.
That's all for now,