The ability to delay gratification as a preschooler has been linked positively with staying out of jail, finishing school, keeping a job, (in general, doing better in life in many parameter than those children who cannot delay gratification.) The ability to delay gratification is intricately linked to resisting temptation. It is the ability to say no to something that pulls at you. Temptation can be felt as a physical pull in the body. Helping children to practice this skill is something I offer all my classes. I start out by have the children try to sit still while watching an ooze tube timer (look up on Google.) Children with ADHD frequently feel like they are dead if they are not moving. They loose the sense of there body being there. We start out wiggling around and feeling our bottoms on the floor. Then we breathe in and out and feel the breath move from the floor up through our body and back down again. The goal is to keep feeling the breath and our bottoms while we stay still.

When we can stay mostly still, I have some children act as distractors. They move around outside the circle doing and saying silly things, trying to get the children sitting still to turn and look at them. All children seem to love this exercise. Almost all of them can stay focused despite the distractions. We are not looking for perfection. We do try to refocus if we get distracted. When the class gets pretty good at this task I give the children a Beanie Baby. They practice having this on their desk or on the floor in front of them with out it distracting them and without touching it. When the class gets pretty good at that, I have the teacher give resisting challenges to the class through the day such as sit on the carpet without touching anyone or walking in the hallway without talking, etc. Then I have children make their own resisting goals and evaluate their progress. Eventually they get to take the beanie baby home. I have children in middle school and high school stop me and tell me that they still have that Beanie Baby. It ends up meaning a lot to them.

There are many ways to play with the idea of resisting from actually resisting the pull of a spandex cloth, to maintaining a specific way of moving such as only in straight lines despite others trying to get them to change. Watching the children work on these tasks always makes me feel in awe of their abilities. I frequently make my own goals and practice at the same time.

What is very important is to have the children discuss what strategies they use to maintain control, or to not get distracted. Some of the strategies children have expressed are; looking at something else, keeping their mind on what they need to do, talking to themselves to stay strong, thinking about something else. I would love to hear about ways you introduce and teach the idea of resisting.

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