What they have been able to do – better than anyone else I’ve read – is create strategies based on well researched and documented brain science and show parents and teachers how to use those strategies to raise emotionally intelligent, resilient children.
I’ve been using these strategies at home and the results have been amazing. I’ve also shared this with my Allies groups. Children and adults can quickly learn how what happens in their brains effects their behavior. Watch here for how Dan Siegel describes his hand model of the brain in his own words.
A few of my favorite Allies lessons is when we talk about and make a list of what makes us “flip our lids”. We discuss what it feels like in our bodies when we start to go into a reactive state. Heart starts beating faster, muscles tense, face gets hot, jaw clenches, our hands make fists, toes curl.
The next time we meet we make a list of what we can do to avoid flipping our lids. When our bodies start to tell us we are about to lose it, what are some ways we can get calm? The kids come up with a wide range of strategies including going outside, getting exercise (Siegel calls this “move it or lose it”), talking about your feelings with someone you trust (“name it to tame it“). I always throw in a few breathing and relaxing techniques that we practice together.
Share to connect
I also tell the kids stories about times when my amygdala took over and I’ve flipped my lid, and times when I was able to stay calm and make a good decision using my pre-frontal cortex. They love to hear about mistakes adults make and once you are true and vulnerable with them, they open up and share their stories.
Try, try again
These strategies are truly life changing. When you begin using them regularly, they become the norm rather than the exception and your relationships become richer, more peaceful and loving.