How to accompany children who are overlooked
In my heart, I wish that all children had only beautiful memories of their childhood but that is practically impossible. Of course, certain difficulties help us grow but several humiliating situations can be avoided or at the very least, their impact reduced. Why is it possible for us, as adults, to still recount in detail certain situations in which we were humiliated before our peers as children? Is this normal?
I strongly hope that by being watchful and by adapting our interventions, it is possible for us to allow children to evolve in a positive and healthy environment. Doing so would eliminate the number of future adults who have memories of situations in which they felt rejected by their peers. I am almost certain it can be done!
Having ourselves been faced with various schoolyard difficulties, we are sensitive to the subject. This most likely is transferred in our daily work with children. I would like to share a short list of interventions and activities you may add to your own. I think they will help you help children who are sometimes overlooked by their peers. They will also help you give them the tools they need to face the situation.
Activities and interventions
- When you must divide your group into teams, use a set of illustrated cards containing two, three, or four identical illustrations (depending on how many children you wish to have per team). Distribute the cards and have children find matching illustrations to form teams.
- Comparisons among children should practically be nonexistent. Instead, compare a child only to himself. Comment his progress and compare him to similar situations he has succeeded in the past.
- Take time to observe the child. Notice in which situations he is more often overlooked by his peers. Tally your results and use them to modify certain timely interventions. Plan activities which correspond to his interests to help him find his place within the group.
- Plan privileged moments with each child in your group. Include these moments in your daily schedule. We sometimes unconsciously devote a large part of our attention to children who are a little more demanding and forget children who are more discreet. When one-on-one time is scheduled in advance, this problem is greatly reduced.
- Children who are overlooked are often shy. They are used to keeping their opinions to themselves. Do not hesitate to request their views on different daily situations and have them verbalize them through open questions.
- When you plan activities for the group as a whole, make sure that all children are able to participate and succeed. Opt for small, individual challenges instead of increasing the general level of difficulty of an activity. Children who are overlooked do not need to be faced with unnecessary defeats.
- Before children leave, sit down with your group and ask them each to name a part of the day they enjoyed and a part of the day they found unpleasant. Together, try to find solutions for situations which are identified as difficult.
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