Little Guy started soccer camp today. Last night we sat down and had a pre-camp talk. You may recall that my 8yo is somewhat of a perfectionist, a kid who's easily frustrated. And although he likes soccer, he's not a particularly athletic kid.
I reminded him that he's probably not going to be anywhere near the best kid at camp. He knew that. Then I asked, "What's your goal for the week?"
He thought a moment and replied, "To do my best."
I commented, "Doing your best could be frustrating if you're working hard and still not all that good."
He nodded, acknowledging that truth, then looked at me expectantly. I suggested, "How about setting a goal of getting better at soccer?" He smiled. That was do-able.
Then we talked about what might get in the way of his goal: frustration when he doesn't catch on quickly, annoyingly show-offy kids, feeling hungry. "What are you going to do if you start feeling upset?" I asked.
He searched his memory banks, and came up with "Do deep belly breaths".
"How many?" I probed. He thought maybe a hundred; I thought 5-10 would be fine. Then I asked what he'd do if that wasn't working. What's plan B? C? Was there going to be an adult there who could help? What kind of help could he ask for?
Some kids can head into new situations and go with the flow and cope. Some kids can't. I find with my anxious ones that it helps a lot to work through coping strategies beforehand.
And Little Guy's getting better at handling his feelings. Which is all I can really expect or hope for.