In Mrs. Smith’s first grade class, we practiced many things. We practiced getting and staying quiet. We practiced walking to the lunchroom in an orderly fashion. We especially practiced FIRE DRILLS.
I remember thinking it was kind of silly. The alarm would sound and we would line up without saying a word. Mrs. Smith would count our heads and then direct us out to the flagpole - where she counted our heads again. Everybody was safe. All was well - except when I joked that I needed to go back inside and get my crayons so they wouldn’t melt. Mrs. Smith failed to see the humor and I wondered why she took it all so seriously.
One day, we had a real fire. The alarm went off and even though we smelled smoke, we lined up just the way we had practiced. We made it out to the flagpole. Everybody was safe! I remember thinking, “Oh, that’s why we practice those things! And why the usually fun Mrs. Smith is so serious about them.”
We all know how we get better at things in life. We practice. Our brains and even our muscles remember what we practiced. And if we work on skills in a time of lower intensity (no fire), we can perform better under higher intensity (real fire).
Working with kids in trouble for almost twenty years, I have met some wonderful professionals who used this concept with supreme effectiveness. I’ve witnessed miracles with kids who were scared, angry, developmentally challenged - you name it.
In my webinar Love and Logic Strategies for Kids with Hurtful Pasts, I tell the true story of a young man with a particularly strong fear and how loving professionals helped him practice skills to calm himself and overcome it. Just like a fire drill, the key was to practice before the real crisis. Happily, even today, that young man still uses those skills when he feels anxious.
Do you know any kids who struggle and could benefit from proactive skill building under lower intensity? This webinar will give you some strategies to empower kids and help them practice skills to be prepared when real life’s “fires” happen.