Why Greeting Routines Help Kids

Written by: Karen Mulder, Wisdom of the Wounded 

Do you have any established routines with your KHUSA student? Many educators find that children respond well to a routine because research tells us that consistent, positive practices can reduce anxiety. When interacting with kids, I’ve found that they really enjoy knowing what to expect, especially if the routine is fun!  

A Simple Greeting Routine to Start Your Time Together 

Here is a greeting routine that you might enjoy using with your student. I call it the “Best-Worst” activity. This activity is wonderful because it gives the student a safe space to share the “highs” and “lows” of their day. 

  1. Choose a pair of questions that highlight the opposite ends of a spectrum. For example: 
    • What was the best part of your day so far? The worst? 
    • What do you feel good about today? What’s been your biggest struggle? 
    • What was today’s high point? Low point? 
  1. Each time you meet with your student, ask the positively worded question first and then give the student your undivided attention. Respond with words of affirmation. For example, “That sounds so fun!”, “How did that make you feel?” or “Wow, that is so cool!” Or you might ask some questions about the child’s experience to give them the opportunity to relive the positive experience. Enjoy the moment together. 
  1. Then, share your positive experience. Sharing is a bonding experience and can pave the way for more sharing in the future. 
  1. Next, ask the student to share their response to the “worst” or “low” part. Again, listen carefully. Put your judging, fixing, critiquing self on the shelf. Your job is to give the child a safe place to share struggles, disappointments, and failures. You might say, “Oh, that sounds like it was hard,” or, “I can see that this was disappointing to you.” 
  1. Then share your “low” response, while ensuring that it is appropriate for a child to hear. Again, it is important that children understand that adults also have times they fail, are disappointed and less than perfect! 
  1. Conduct a closing or ending to the routine. Close this time by thanking them for their openness and honesty and let them know that you are there to support and encourage them.  

The Benefits of Establishing a Routine with Students 

Routines can help students feel seen, heard, and valued. As a KHUSA mentor, when you open your meetings with the greeting routine consider the following benefits: 

You, as a mentor, 

  • Demonstrate that it is ok to share your feelings and thoughts 
  • Will learn much about your student (and yourself!) 
  • Are building a bond between you and your student 

Establishing a positive, healthy pattern of behavior such as a greeting routine with your students helps them anticipate a fun mentor/student meeting. It also helps them feel valued and provides them a chance to build a stronger bond with you, their mentor. Give it a try today! 

About the author: Karen Mulder is founder of Wisdom of the Wounded, a ministry that inspires and equips others to care for the suffering during life’s difficulties. 

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