This month in your child’s classrooms, we read the book Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae. In this book, Gerald, a gangly giraffe, wants to join in at the dance; but all the other animals make fun of him. Luckily, Gerald meets a friendly cricket that helps him tap into his inner-self and discover his unique talents.
One of the most important lessons discussed in this book is: There are some things we can control, and some things that we can’t control. In the story, Gerald is teased with name-calling and put-downs. His new friend, the cricket helps him learn that he only has power and control over how he responds to the teases and put-downs. He learns to focus on the fact that you have the power to choose how to react to situations.
Like Gerald, your child is learning about developing positive personal power. One important aspect of personal power is being responsible for your own behavior and feelings. We discussed some specific skills to gain personal power:
- Be an optimist. Look on the bright side, and expect good things to happen.
- Tune in to your inner voice, and use positive self-talk.
- Build a skill. Learn what you need to do to improve, and then practice!
- Be an UPstander. Use your words and actions to make sure that everyone—including yourself, is treated with respect.
- If you need help with any of these skills, find a supportive peer or adult who will offer you the help you need.
We hope you will talk with your child tonight about Giraffes Can’t Dance. To reinforce the message at home and help your child to develop these skills:
- Create opportunities to encourage her or him to try new things.
- Offer praise for their willingness to try.
- Whenever possible, give your child control over choices and decisions made at home.
- Whenever they’re in a negative situation, help your child “switch the channel” to reframe their inner dialogue to create an “I can do it!” attitude.