I’ve been thinking about a phrase I would use with a 1st grade class that I worked with a couple of years ago. When we were deep in work on a math sheet, or brainstorming story ideas together for a writing project, us teachers could clearly feel the line for our students between feeling motivated and engaged, and frustrated and fried. We could recognize in our kids (and in ourselves as well) that we needed a “brain break”. Maybe you’ve used this phrase in your families too. It’s a great reminder that even on our quest to finish a project, organize a game together, or even finish a meal, we all sometimes need a break to think freshly about whatever we’re working on.
I encourage and support sometimes pivoting from one activity to another new one in moments of stress. I feel sometimes that we as grownups can get too attatched to getting something “right” or “done”. If we find our children have gone from a sweet spot of focus to a big tantrum or frustration, it might be helpful to remember that taking a break to start something new is an option. Though pushing through can be a huge and wonderful lesson, taking a break and offering something new (or maybe just offering a comforting break) can be just the ticket for a clearer feeling.