Kid’s Nite Out is something I offer at my school typically during the school year on the 2nd or 3rd Friday of the month, set from 6p-10p, $20 per child for four hours – with pizza included. This is a GREAT way for parents to have a ‘date night’ and the young ladies and gentlemen can learn some important life lessons at the same time – oh, and make some new friends, have fun, and get some exercise. I may be biased, but I think it’s so much better than just sitting around watching TV with some teenager watching your kids at home… *hint* *hint*
This is a case study report from August, 2010.
The night started with a few ground-rules, as always… and I asked the parents to stay for a few minutes just to hear the opening of the event. I covered the concept of Self-Control (when my mind controls my body and my emotions), plus the ideas of positive energy (when you feel warm and big inside) and negative energy (when you feel small and cold inside). I started by having everyone sit up nice and tall and say, “I feel terrible.” Then I had everyone sit all smooshed down and say, “I feel wonderful.” Finally, I had everyone sit up nice and tall again and say “I feel wonderful.” Then I asked, ‘which felt like it belonged together?’ (C – sitting up nice and tall, saying I feel wonderful). I explained that when they were sitting up nice and tall, they were feeling something called Positive Energy, which is when you feel warm and big inside. When everyone was sitting all smooshed down, they were feeling something called Negative Energy, which is when you feel small and cold inside.
Then I asked, “Do you like like feeling small and cold or warm and big inside?” Everyone agreed that they liked feeling warm and big inside. So then I asked, “If you make someone – like your parents, or your brother or sister, or a teacher – ask you four or more times to do something, do you think they feel warm and big or small and cold inside? (small and cold) So, if they feel small and cold inside, what will they share with you, warm and big feelings or small and cold feelings? (small and cold feelings) And do we like feeling small and cold inside? (No) Me either. So how can we help other people feel warm and big inside – by making them ask use four or more times, or what if they only have to ask once (ask once!) Great! And if they feel warm and big inside, what are they doing to share with us? (warm and big feelings) That’s right! So, to make that easy, we have to work on developing something called Self-Control, which is when my mind controls my body and my emotions.”
“The way you show me, your parents, your teachers, brothers, sisters, and friends that you’re working on your self-control is by using something called Magic Phrases. Repeat after me. The first four are: Yes Sir (Yes Sir), Yes Ma’am (Yes Ma’am), No Sir (No Sir), No Ma’am (No Ma’am). So, for the rest of the night, we’re all going to practice using our Magic Phrases with each other. Does that make sense? (I heard a few yes sirs, a few yeahs, and had a few nodding heads). Ok, I don’t speak head-shake, so let’s try that again. Does that make sense, Yes Sir or No Sir (Yes Sir). Great!”
I followed that with talking about Cooperation versus Competition. I asked the young ladies and gentlemen for ideas of what those two words meant and Isabella and Demi both gave some very good answers. I then gave them my two-word definitions, which made it easy for everyone to understand.
Next was a short overview on being a strong-on-the-inside leader, which is someone who doesn’t always have to be first, can share, and makes sure he or she includes everyone in the activities.
Then I explained
- We were going to have some free time for about 30 minutes
- What equipment that was available to use
- One of the crash pads had to be under the hanging bags so if anyone fell off a bag, they’d land on a thick pad
- Only one person should be on the other crash pad at a time so no one gets bonked
- Everyone should be practicing being a strong-on-the-inside leader and share equipment
- Big ladies and gentlemen should look out for medium and small ladies and gentlemen
- Small ladies and gentlemen should look out for medium and big ladies and gentlemen
And then I asked: “If someone gets knocked down, is that because of one person or two people? The right answer was two people – if I get knocked down, it’s because I wasn’t paying attention to what was going on around me but the other person wasn’t paying attention to what was going on around him or her, either. So, we both have to cooperate so everyone can have fun and feel warm and big inside.”
With no questions, I turned the ladies and gentlemen loose for about 30 minutes.
Then I spoke with the parents for a few minutes – reviewing what I covered with the young ladies and gentlemen, the idea of a First-Line Success Coach and a Second-Line Success Coach (covered later in this review), helping the young ladies and gentlemen continue to develop their Self-Control at home, and the basic structure for the evening.
This month we’re covering Good Habits as part of our Character Training and Development. I shared some information with the young ladies and gentlemen:
“It takes a conscious, deliberate effort to develop good habits. It is hard to develop self-discipline. It is hard to stay focused and not get sidetracked. It takes courage to always be responsible for your actions. It takes effort to learn to be non-judgmental. But if you can develop these habits, life will be a whole lot easier, more fun and more rewarding.
On the other hand, it is easy to be lazy and sloppy and not try hard. In the long run, these bad habits will cost you a great life. In this cycle, you will be learning some strategies that will help them develop good habits.”
Then I covered two pieces: Self-Discipline and Dinner Before Dessert.
Before the next physical portion, I covered an important concept… I started by asking: “Do you ladies and gentlemen want to know the secret to being invited back, wherever you go? (Yes Sir) Okay, who knows the secret? (hands went up from the Kid’s Nite veterans) I called on a student (he said: ‘leave it better than you found it, Sir’) Exactly right – always leave things at least 25% better than you found it. We’ll practice that a little later, when the pizza gets here.”
Then I passed out pads, mitts and noodles to everyone and we practiced our self-control and balance by standing things and not falling over. Once the equipment was put away, we pulled out one of the crash pads and everyone worked on monkey rolls.
And then the pizza arrived, yay pizza! We went with Donator’s pizza – 3 large cheese and 3 large pepperoni… pizza was good but at $72, a might bit expensive… it was more like $10 a pizza last time I ordered from them… (note to self: gonna have to look into more cost-effective pizza, but must be yummy and not Papa John’s ’cause they won’t deliver inside the business anymore which is a non-customer focused policy as far as I’m not concerned.)
When the pizza arrived, we relocated to the PlayCare (which is the child care areas of Club51, my immediate neighbor, and great place to work out… if you’re looking for a new – no pressure – fitness facility, let me know and I’ll hook you up with the Sales Manager. He’s a personal friend and he’ll take care of you extra special! Did I mention the ‘no-pressure’ part?)
Everyone headed to the PlayCare and sat down in the middle of the room. Then I asked, “Remember what I said about leaving things better than you found it? (yes sir) Awesome answer, Ladies and Gentlemen. Ok, we’re going to see what we can do in here, eat, and then straighten up again before we leave. So, ladies and gentlemen, please look around the room. Could it look better? (Yes Sir). Excellent… make it happen. When you think it looks good, have a seat back in the middle of the room.” And with that, 13 young ladies and gentlemen, ages 4 to 11, with no instruction, guidance, direction, input…. or even conversation, got busy and made the room look great. Ms Rya ‘runs’ PlayCare and keeps it clean and pretty well organized but my young ladies and gentlemen went through and straightened all the stuffed animals, pulled out the blocks and toys hidden in various places and them in the bins, stacked books, stacked bean-bag chairs, and generally made the room nice and tight. I’ve found that when you communicate your expectations clearly, and state what you want to see, young ladies and gentlemen can do some pretty amazing things. I was very proud of everyone and thanked them for doing such a quick, thorough, and good job.
Oh… and did I mention we’d been running around and doing stuff for about 2 hours by this point. AND… I was un-stacking 6 fresh, hot, wonderfully smelling pizzas while the ladies and gentlemen were cleaning… the whole PlayCare smelled of pizza and NO ONE was asking to have pizza… they were all focused on tightening up the room. Which is all kinds of awesome – about +1 million there, even *air guitar*
I couldn’t figure out how to work the TV so we sat quietly and ate pizza, had juice, and no spills. Also, although I did have to issue a few reminders – no one messed with PlayCare’s stuffs. The standing rule is: not mine, can’t touch it/play with it/break it. Break it – you buy it.
Noah’s mom and sisters hung out with us during the evening so they are my witnesses that everything I’ve said is true! And, after most everyone was done eating, Ms Angel (that’s Noah’s mom) played the Concentration Game and hot potato with everyone while I waited for everyone’s stomachs to settle.
Before we headed back to the school, everyone washed hands and faces again, then straightened up the room – leaving the vacuuming and wiping down surfaces for me after Kid’s Nite ended. And, again, I complimented everyone on making the room look fantastic. Once back in the school, I reminded everyone about being a Strong-On-The-Inside Leader and being willing to share and cooperate. I also talked a little about responsibility – I asked, “Who would like to borrow the car when you’re 16? (almost everyone’s hands went up) So, is borrowing the car a small thing, medium thing, or big thing? (Big thing!) Great… so, does it make sense that before your Parents trust you with a big thing, they need to be able to trust you with a small or medium thing? (yes sir) Is cleaning your room a big thing, medium thing, or small thing? (small thing) Small thing, Sir? (small thing sir!) Very good. And exactly right… so, is your room clean and organized? (some said yes, some looked at the floor). Does it make sense that if your room, which you said was a small thing, isn’t clean – that your parents won’t feel comfortable trusting you with a big thing? (yes sir) I mean, after all, a car is like a 2,000 lbs death machine in the wrong hands!”
Then I explained to our guests that they would be receiving a two-week guest pass but to be able to use it, they would need to show Mom and/or Dad that they were serious by doing two things: First, using the first four Magic Phrases (Yes Sir, Yes Ma’am, No Sir, No Ma’am) and Second, by either cleaning their room or finding something else to clean around the house without being asked. Then I turned the group loose to enjoy the floor and equipment in free play.
Around this time, parents started to arrive so I went up to speak with the parents.
One of the rules during free time was: only one person on the blue pad at a time. Another rule was: no squishing someone under the blue pad. Several of the participants got creative and stood the pad vertically, lined up behind it and then made it fall over with a loud smack. I thought it was a good use of creativity so I didn’t say anything and watched to make sure it was safe. Then, one of the students got partially caught under the blue pad – Noah’s legs were trapped and he had about 5 or 6 other young ladies and young gentlemen laying on his legs. I waited a moment or two to see what everyone would do. They stayed on top of his legs, laughing. I could see that he wasn’t in any pain or danger, but they weren’t being safe. I immediately stopped speaking with the parents and called the entire group to Focus, which is when you stand with your feet together and your hands at your side. I then explained, in my “Parent Voice”, what I expected to see: “Ladies and Gentlemen, are we supposed to be squishing someone with the blue pad? (no sir) They why did I see 5 or 6 people on the blue pad, squishing Noah’s legs and no one doing anything about it? (silence, a few looked at the floor) Eyes on me, please. (eyes met mine) Thank you. Is it safe for you to be on top of someone’s legs like that? (no sir) Noah could have had a broken leg, or a twisted knee and you’re just sitting there, on top of him, laughing. I don’t want to see that again. If you are on the pad, and someone gets trapped – even just part of their body, I want to you get off the made as quickly and safely as possible and make sure they are ok. Any questions? (silence) I can’t hear you. Let’s try that again, any questions? (no sir). Okay, great – have fun.”
And then I went back to talking to the parents. We were discussing 1+1 and the concept of integration.
A few minutes later, about 3-4 people were on the blue pad and Thunder had his legs getting squished. I waited a full minute before saying anything, and then I had everyone put all the equipment away and sit down in front of the bench.
Then I asked, “Why did I have everyone put everything away and sit down? (because it’s almost time to go and we should always put things away?) That’s a great answer and a really good habit, but that’s not why I did it tonight. (no more guesses) Okay… what happened earlier with the big, blue pad? (silence) Was everyone playing safely or did someone get squished? (someone got squished). That’s right. Was that safe? (no sir). Okay, so why did I see it happen again? (silence) Thunder got his legs trapped and everyone just sat on the pad and laughed. I watched for a whole minute. Was that Self-Control? (no sir). Right. So, let me share something with you. Remember when I said that the focus for the school this month is on developing Good Habits? (yes sir) Next week, we’re going to talk about ‘Taking Responsibility’. I shared a short story about playing with a friend who didn’t do his chores and gets in trouble with his mother, and then tries to blame you for him not getting his chores done. In a similar way, I told all of you what I expected when we started the event tonight. And I reminded you when someone got squished with the blue pad. When someone got squished a second time, that told me that some people weren’t practicing their Self-Control, so that’s why I had everyone put everything away. Because I saw a few people not showing Self-Control, how do I know that other people are or are not working on their Self-Control. So it’s easier to just have everyone stop, which isn’t fair to those that actually were showing me Self-Control. But that’s how life is sometimes. Plus, it’s almost time to go and almost all the parents are here.”
And with that, I had everyone face me and bow. Then we all faced the parents and bowed. I finished with, “Okay, I hope you had a great time tonight. You all did a really good job with listening, cooperating, and everything was smooth until something with the blue pad. Make sure you say thank you to Mom and/or Dad, give them a hug or high-five and make it a great weekend, ladies and gentlemen!”
And that was the end of Kid’s Nite Out
and in conclusion, I spoke to Ms Rya Saturday morning and she said the room looked great! Which made me very happy – I want to keep using the PlayCare so having Ms Rya happy with me and my students is important. Next, we need to work on how everyone walks through the building (instead of running because they’re excited after training).