Tuesday, 6 January 2015

A Predictable Routine

Children need to know how we have planned the time for them. It’s important for them as it allows them to mentally prepare themselves, which in turn makes the environment more predictable for them, which further helps them to cooperate better with us.

There are many simple ways to do so. One of them being, before starting the session or class, list down the plan in front of them and discuss it. Ask them what they would like to do first. If you can change a few things around, do so, as it helps them to feel important and makes them cooperate with you better. I would like to support this strategy with an example. I work with a child with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). For many days, I had the plan for him for the hour that he came to me, but I never shared it with him. There was definitely much resistance and displeasure towards the activities from his end. Later on, I began to start our sessions with listing down the activities and discussing them with him. For example I would write: 1. Worksheet on phonics, 2. Read a story, 3. Word search, 4. Dictation and 5. Board game. I allowed him to change the order of the activities. He wanted to start with the word search, which I allowed him to do. I realized that my student was more willing to listen to me and was more engaged in the activities as they proceeded.

In the classroom, teachers can discuss the class/day’s plan with the students. Make the plan visible to them and cross out the activities as you get done with them. If you empower the children in this way, you will definitely have more cooperation and engagement from their end.

Another thing that is important to be mindful of is giving the children a warning before they make their transition to the next activity. As adults we tend to take the children for granted. For example, when we have to go out, we simply order them and expect them to drop everything no matter how engaged they are in their task. This invites much irritability and tantrums and definitely affects their behaviour in general. Put yourself in their shoes and think how you would feel if you were enjoying a good movie and someone just asked you to stop it there and then and do something else. What we need to do is tell the children things like, ‘You have ten more minutes left to play, then we will go home’ or ‘Please finish drawing the picture and you can paint it later’. We need to keep the children informed of how their day proceeds and make it predictable for them. Try doing this, and you will have happier and more settled children around you!

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