Building Skill Through Play: Managing Disappointment and Teaching Positive Body Language

  1. Updates

It’s the holiday season! Schools and Playworks are counting down the days until winter break, but first we’re focusing on managing disappointment and teaching positive body language. 

We all know that it can be incredibly easy to get swept up in the negative emotions a disappointment brings because our expectations were not met. For kids, those negative emotions can quickly escalate and result in them becoming emotionally dysregulated to the point that they might act out. Playing games at recess can be a lot of fun until you find yourself not coming in first or not getting picked for a particular game or getting a chance to lead. These are natural facets of play and students need to have the self-regulation skills to manage their emotions which has to be taught and practiced. Without strong self-regulation, these disappointments can easily escalate for a child and lead to displays of negative behaviors towards their peers or other adults. By teaching positive body language and self management skills during play and recess, Playworkers are helping kids manage their emotions and disappointment.

There are four main ways Playworkers are managing disappointment:

  1. Positive self talk and reassurance 
  2. Belly Breathing 
  3. Stop and think, understanding the importance of assessment 
  4. Giving yourself grace 

By having the adults model this behavior in school and play settings, students are able to watch, learn, and then replicate positive behaviors and meet what’s expected of them. So the next time you see someone struggling with managing disappointment, try these four tactics to help them out. And if you see someone managing disappointment in a positive way, congratulate and praise them to help reinforce the behavior.

Some fun games we are encouraging students to play this month are Four Corners, Bridge Ball, and Simon Says. Try some of these out during the holidays this year.

We will be back after winter break encouraging students to initiate and sustain games together!

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