Do you still have a crier in your class?
Here are some ways to deal with it as a kindergarten teacher!
1. Love, love, love! Some kids just need love. Make them feel special and wanted once they do get calmed down so the next day they have no anxiety over being at school.
2. Some kids need time! I had a little girl last year that if I demanded her to stop and come join us or stop crying, I would lose her for even more time. So I allowed her the time to emote and just kept positive. I would ask her every 10 minutes or so if she was ready to join us. And never yelled or had a negative tone.
3. Some kids do need to sternly be told to stop, but I feel that this is a select few! If I do take this approach, it is only once and if it is not effective I don’t do it again! Being too stern and bossy scares the other kids and so I try to avoid this!
4. Offer your student a glass of water. They almost will never take it, but offering someone something is very welcoming and powerful! So I keep fun dixie cups above my sink and I use them only for special times or to calm a kid down.
5. Ask your student to sit with you. Allow them to hold your hand while you take attendance or sit by you at circle time or on the carpet (even if they have assigned seats.) Some kids are just scared and need to know that you will be there for them. Just ask them every short so often if they are ready to go back to their seats. After a couple of days of this, they won’t even need to be close I promise.
6. I like to keep hair barrettes and cool bandaids for the kids in class. If your crier is a girl, when they calm down, build the relationship by throwing a little barrette in her hair! A 30-second investment will pay off. Boy’s get a cool bandaid even if they don’t need it! I am a firm believer in using my role as a teacher to nurture relationships!
7. NEVER get in a tug and pull-type interaction with kids (and I mean physically and verbally.) Immediate response is always fight or flight and that is what they are doing. Allow them space and time to calm down and make the transition easier. If a parent needs to stay because a child is kicking or screaming, allow them to. Then ask them to slowly back away once the child is engaged. Think of it as baby steps… first, she sits next to the student, then at the next table, etc. Once the child is calm and engaged, quietly motion for the parent to leave. Once the child realizes the parent is gone, they will cry, but go back to the steps above and start building that relationship! And if it becomes an issue where the parent cannot leave, the administration needs to intervene and separate them from the office. You don’t want the classroom to be a place of trauma for the child or the child will not trust you or the environment.
8. NEVER say things like ‘no one else is crying’ or ‘why don’t you like it here?’ Both of those questions have negative underlying messages.
Bottom line is to keep it POSITIVE and INVITING! In no time you will have happy, smiling children!
Please feel free to share any other ideas you have!