This morning at Seedlings I bit a tree. I bit the tree branch for a few minutes, and it didn’t taste good.

Our Little Climbing Tree

Generally speaking biting is not something we model, especially in the two-and-a-half to six age range. However, this morning biting the tree was my ace in the hole when climbers in our tree were stuck yelling at each other.

There are times when you are caring for children and you have exhausted calming techniques, distractions, or consolations. A great go-to is silliness. Doing something so completely out of the norm, or hinting at the possibility of mystery, can shift the mood. Sometimes when a young one is so beside themselves, all they need is to see something strange to change the dance and bring them back down to earth. This is where a tree might experience biting. Here are some of the things that work for me. Use them as a starting place for your own silliness.

  1. Cup your hands and pretend there’s something very small and precious inside. Whisper to it, shake it, peek at it, offer a peek to the children, then quickly let it go and say, “Oh no! It got away!”
  2. Use the surroundings. If the conflict is happening on the monkey bars, start monkeying. If you’re near a tree pick some of the leaves and use them as jewelry.
  3. Jump up and try to catch a cloud.
  4. Bust out your favorite yoga pose.
  5. Make a quick silly face then hide your face in your hands… repeat.
Look for the moment when they’re ready to communicate or move on. Silliness and being goofy has the added benefit of lightening everybody’s mood. See how you can use silliness when you need to change the dance.

“A little nonsense now and then, cherished by the wisest men.” – W. Wonka

© Jonathan Iris-Wilbanks and Sunflower Creative Arts, 2011
Photos © Haidor Truu and Sunflower Creative Arts, 2011