We can control our attitude with positive self-talk

‘Try to adopt an attitude of gratitude.’

These are the wise words of our School Chaplain Gerry Riviere. As we enter another week of coronavirus restrictions, we are being increasingly challenged to maintain this thought process. The welcome easing of these limitations this week and the opportunity to return to school only served to highlight what we have been missing and how much we appreciate any opportunity to reconnect.

In times like these, it is important to keep a sense of perspective and a recent article reinforced for me the power of positive self-talk. When I am thinking negatively, my thoughts can very easily drift and drag me down so it is up to me to turn that around.

An example of this might be in the thought, ‘My friends and family have not been able to get together’, which can be reframed to, ‘My friends and family are protecting each other’.

Other examples reframing our thinking could be:

  • I’ve been stuck at home.

I’ve been safe at home.

  • I have lost some of my freedom.

I have given up some of my freedom for a short period to keep others safe.

  • I miss the things I love.

I am becoming more grateful for the things I love.

It’s certainly not easy, but having the right language to shift our thinking and support others to do the same is the first step. I am sure that our return to school next week will help us all engage in this positive self-talk.

Balancing indoor/outdoor play is similar to balancing online/offline learning
Our early childhood educators often reference the importance of balancing indoor and outdoor play. If you asked them, I am sure our ELC staff would say that outdoor play is just as important as indoor play. Space, fresh air and a sense of freedom are essential for children's emotional, social and personal wellbeing. Outdoor play is vital because it invites the children to make choices, follow their own interests and get fully absorbed in their natural environment.

The same argument applies to online and offline learning. Necessity has brought us into a space where children are spending more time online and our teachers are very conscious that there needs to be a balance between time engaging on screen with time to complete work away from the iPad. A structured timetable helps to address this balance, nevertheless we need to be proactively encouraging our children to pursue other interests.

Despite the colder weather, let’s dress the children appropriately and nudge them outside whenever possible. At the risk of repeating myself, allowing children to experience the benefits of being outside is so important for their wellbeing. And indoor play can be beneficial too – inside the house, why not break out the jigsaw puzzles, board games, cards, art materials and cookbooks to provide a diversity of pursuits that draws our children away from the iPad and invites them to – similarly to outdoor play – make choices, follow their own interests and get fully absorbed in what they are doing.

Never before has addressing this balance been more important!

Steve Wilson
Head of Junior School Donvale