Recently we had Favorite Character Day at the school. Everyone, staff and kids alike, got to dress up as their favorite cartoon character (no blood, masks, or scary stuff allowed, by the way). It was TONS of fun! Since my daughter and I recently went to see the Broadway-bound Frozen, I chose Elsa as my character.
Since I will probably not be making it to Broadway soon, this was a day to be remembered. I encourage any and all therapists, teachers, counselors, parents and all other educators to try it out, because I guarantee that the students’ hearts were touched that day.
I made guest appearances in Kindergarten and First grades and the looks on their little faces touched my heart to the core. Some of them actually believed that Elsa was visiting, the “real” Elsa. We sang Let it Go over and over and that relaxation class is one I will never forget.
Letting it Go is THE perfect emotional regulation lesson. We discussed feelings, how none of them are “bad” but all of them are recognized. We talked about how to “let them go” through taking a deep breath and using our relaxation tools. In live time, with Elsa teaching the lesson, we practiced “letting go.”
Using the “In Focus” social skills curriculum, we tied the conversation directly to our studies of the brain and how relaxation activities calm down the “dog” (limbic system) so that the “owl” (prefrontal cortex) can learn. For more information on the “In Focus” curriculum, please visit the link below. I love how they introduce the brain and neuroplasticity to kids in a fun, easy to remember way using the animals for the major parts of the brain.
In fourth and fifth grades, we brought in paper snowflakes to talk specifically about those memories, feelings, or beliefs that we were ready to let go. I asked students to write those things on the snowflakes and then we did a mini guided imagery to “let them go” and melt away, leaving only the desired feelings and thoughts in their place.
So, I would invite all of you reading this to find your favorite character, embrace your inner child, and really BE that for a day. It is so much fun and good for the heart, for both you and your child or students. So, dress like Wonder Woman and make dinner, don your best cape to pick up at school, or put on that pretty or mysterious mask and teach those lessons. It will make you and your children’s DAY. But remember, please remember, to BREATHE while you are doing it. Make relaxation fun and it will become part of life.
Wishing you many peaceful moments.
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