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Life coaching for very young children

(20 Posts)
BlueBelle Thu 04-Jan-18 07:33:53

Having just heard about this I can see pros and cons and not sure how I feel, I can see the benefits off helping a child learn how to understand their feelings etc but how much of this is putting adult feelings and adult solutions on a very small child shouldn’t they just be out learning how to be kids and how to face all the knocks and thrills of growing up themselves with guidance from mums or dads

Marydoll Thu 04-Jan-18 08:38:03

I often worked in the nurture unit in my school, my morning pupils were between five and six years old and the afternoon children were , between ten and twelve years old. They were in this unit because of emotional and social difficulties and a mainstream class was unsuitable for them.
Part of our morning routine was to discuss what "face" we had on today. Most of the children had either a "sad" or " angry" face when they came in to school in the morning. Much of the time this was caused to by what was happening in their lives outside school. We tried (not always successfully) to help them to understand why they felt this way and also give them strategies for coping with these feelings. Their feelings manifested themselves in a number of ways: physical violence, anger, destruction of property, withdrawing into themselves and in one case elective mutism.
Their parents couldn't or were unable to give them the guidance and support they needed to cope with these feelings, so there had to be some sort of intervention. Another aspect was that they actually didn't have the language to articulate how they felt. There was little nurturing nor interaction between parent and child. No-one actually spoke to them, apart from telling them to stop whining or to "Shut up!"
Of course, I believe that in the first instance that is the role for parents, but some of the circumstances my pupils were experiencing would shock you to the core.

My New Year resolution was to not write long posts. Failed miserably. smile

NanaandGrampy Thu 04-Jan-18 08:42:49

What an interesting post Marydoll I had no idea such units existed. And more sadly that they were needed - I've always thought - some people just shouldn't have children :-(

Eglantine21 Thu 04-Jan-18 08:59:52

My experience too Marydoll.
(There, think of your "long post" as having saved me the effort grin)

Marydoll Thu 04-Jan-18 09:04:15

Eglantine, you have obviously put your skills to good use. I feel so much better about writing my very long post .grin

OldMeg Thu 04-Jan-18 09:40:24

Very true Marydoll. A close friend of mine in an Ed Psyc. She was just saying the other day that many of the young people she has to deal with cannot recognise any feelings/emotions excepts, sadness, happiness and anger. Consequently suicides attempts (sadness) and aggression (anger)

When she’s helped them to recognise that there are other emotions such as guilt, helplessness, frustration, etc. usually underlying these feelings then she can help them to deal with them appropriately. It was fascinating listening to her.

So, yes, if the parents can’t do their job of helping their children recognise and deal with their emotions with the family situation then someone else has to. A sad fact of life.

trisher Thu 04-Jan-18 10:22:24

I think what Marydoll was referring to is generally known as Emotional Intelligence and I don't know if that is the same as Life Coaching. It would have been nice to have some sort of link or more explanation. I think one of the things we asssume is that children are born to people who have sorted out themselves and their lives, sadly this isn't so. Some children cope because they have been taught what is necessary to fit into society, but those who haven't bring into school all the problems from their home and the area. I'm going to Google Life coaching for children to find out more.

trisher Thu 04-Jan-18 10:27:26

Oh Wow So many websites came up. This isn't just helping children who have emotional problems. It is Apparently for everyone (as long as you can pay)!
Wish this had been around whilst I was working. It sounds a lot more lucrative than teaching!

Jane10 Thu 04-Jan-18 14:15:20

A very high proportion of offenders have been found to have poor language and communication skills. Several prisons and young offenders institutions now employ speech and language therapists. There's something about locking the stables after the horses have bolted about it. Marydoll's type of nurture unit is sorely needed throughout the country sadly

vampirequeen Thu 04-Jan-18 14:28:29

I used to have a chart in my classroom. Each day as they came in the children would put their name next to a number from 1 to 10. 1 being the worst feelings ever and 10 being the best feelings ever. Most would put somewhere between 6 and 9. Occasionally a child would put a lower number. During morning circle time there would be the opportunity to bring up anything that made us feel good/bad. There was no obligation to share but the children were also aware that they could talk to me or any other school adult they felt comfortable with if they needed to. Every member of staff received disclosure training just in case.

vampirequeen Thu 04-Jan-18 14:30:15

Forgot to say.....the children could change their numbers anytime during the day as long as it wasn't teaching time. The children realised that they were not alone in having mood swings or ups and downs. All adults had to put their name near a number too.

WilmaKnickersfit Thu 04-Jan-18 14:32:34

I know a lot of schools use life coaching techniques to help pupils understand a bit better why they are feeling the way they are, but they're also useful for preventing bullying. Low self esteem often stems from childhood, so it taps in to these feelings too.

Yoga for children is also popular and useful for helping children who get stressed or just to take their minds away from one lesson before moving on to something new. Yoga for children is done in short bursts and can be made fun by getting the children to imagine the movement of the animal from the posture name. It's not like adult yoga! tchgrin

I like the idea of education for the mind being more varied. I'm sure it must have positive effects.

OldMeg Thu 04-Jan-18 14:42:03

Yes trisher it is emotional intelligence and it’s an integral part of Anger Managent.

BBbevan Thu 04-Jan-18 14:44:31

Marydoll I did exactly the same as you in our school's Nurture group. It was only for infants and in the morning and we did a lot of talking over'breakfast' .The children improved considerably over a few months. Sad to say , due to pressures at home etc they declined in the juniors When we introduced mentors they saw more joy in life again. Many children do need experienced help with their lives and cannot find it

BlueBelle Thu 04-Jan-18 15:12:46

Oh gosh I don’t have any second thoughts about the type of kids you’re referring to Marydoll this appears to be quite different and teaching very young children about dealing with stress

M0nica Thu 04-Jan-18 15:44:21

Surely all this 'life coaching' jargon means is providing children with emotional problems with the appropriate psychological help and support they need. It is what psychologist's job is and what they have been doing as long as they have existed.

Norah Thu 04-Jan-18 15:50:37

Marydoll what a remarkable program. I learned reading your post.

Marydoll Thu 04-Jan-18 16:54:24

I should have also added that what I mentioned was only a small part of what we did. I didn't want to rabbit on!
We worked on other skills such as working together, turn taking, entrepreneurial skills, sharing etc... as well as the academic aspects of school.
However, life skills for functioning in society were a priority.
Some of the pupils had never used a knife and fork and ate with their hands. Basic hygiene was also an issue for some. It was an area of high deprivation and we couldn't accommodate all the children who needed help.
Progress was very slow, so we had to prioritise.
A psychologist could not give our pupils the time appropriate to their needs. They were lucky if they saw an ed psych for half an hour every three months. The resources just weren't available.
There was always a waiting list of pupils for a place in the unit.

BBbevan Thu 04-Jan-18 17:58:44

Sounds very much like my school Marydoll. A deprived area in a quite upmarket borough. We had the exact same problems

NaomiAlred Wed 17-Apr-19 05:48:13

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