One of the social competencies that many children lack is awareness, either of their surroundings or of other people around them. They can easily get lost in their own little world.
At a group last week, there were several kids playing in our big dirt pile with small shovels and spades. There was constant coaching on watching where the dirt got flung, or swinging around the digging tools in the air, perilously close to someone. There were complaints and cries about all manner of dirt-related issues.
Social coaching success for me has always been the ability to come up with a way to explain things that kids can really connect with, understand, and use in the immediate moment. In this instance, I stopped all the diggers and flingers, and said something to the effect of:
“Hey, people on the dirt. Everyone has TWO responsibilities when playing in the dirt. The first responsibility is to the other kids who are on the dirt pile. We need to watch out for each other at all times and make sure no one gets accidentally hit with dirt or a shovel. The second responsibility is to your own self. You need to learn to watch for things that might come at you, and adjust accordingly.”
In general, a good life lesson to teach our kids is that we are responsible for BOTH ourselves and others, an area that will take more practice for some kids than others.
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