Huggy Bears

No, that’s not a gratuitous “Starsky and Hutch” reference. (Although I am guilty of gratuitous pop culture references on occasion.) It’s a reference to elementary school students. One of the things I adore about that  age group is that they are so affectionate. Last school year, when I had a three-month assignment in the same school, I got lots of hugs, to the point where I missed them when I didn’t get them. This year, even on the one-day assignments, I still get kids who come up to me and want to hug me.

Some things I’ve learned:

  • Check to make sure the school doesn’t have a no-physical-contact policy. It angers me that sick <insert expletives I don’t want to use on a family blog> who abuse kids have made it harder for kids to give affection to and receive affection from adults with whom they may spend as much time as they do with their parents.
  • Bend down to their level as much as you can. I’m almost 6 feet tall, and elementary school kids tend to end up about chest-level on me. Since I’m also rather busty, that has potential for awkwardness.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of other physical contact. A handshake, high-five, or pat on the shoulder or head also lets a kid know you care.
  • Don’t neglect verbal praise, too. Don’t fear creating a “special little snowflake.”  Most of the time, that doesn’t happen. Kids thrive on positive reinforcement.

1 Comment

Filed under Teaching

One response to “Huggy Bears

  1. When I was in elementary school, my teachers would have never considered this type of kindness and affection — and that was back in the day when there weren’t any rules about physical contact, etc. It’s ironic!

    And yes, it makes a huge difference. I’m learning that with a step niece whose mother can’t show affection. I’m glad you give it when you can.

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