Stop and Think about Children’s Emotional Needs

Posted On: January 5, 2021

Stop and Think about Children's Emotional Needs

“What Shall We Do About the Children After the Pandemic?” asks Teresa Thayer Snyder, Ph.D, retired superintendent of the Voorheesville district in upstate New York. She responds with an essay, posted on her blog[1], that emphasizes the importance of taking the child’s point of view.[2] She recognizes that teachers are under pressure to make up for lost time and improve academic performance, but she advocates for making children’s emotional needs a priority.

As educators and health professionals, we know that the pandemic has exacerbated existing adverse situations for students and created a new cohort of children facing food scarcity, utility shut-offs, evictions, homelessness, and the loss or death of family members and pets. The children are also experiencing/witnessing increased incidents of family violence, substance abuse, and mental health issues.

Dr. Snyder says that “Children will be returning with emotional experiences, and we need to help them access resources. Our job is to welcome them back…and greet them with stories and books that will help them make sense of an upside-down world. They need to be given as many tools as we can provide to nurture resilience and help them adjust to a post pandemic world.”

BrainWise is such a tool. Teaching children and families about using the Wizard Brain over the Lizard Brain lays a conceptual foundation that helps even kindergartners understand that they may not be able to control problems, but they can control how they react to them.

Children learn to process problems by applying BrainWise CPR — first response skills that help them use their Wizard Brain over their Lizard Brain. They learn how to Control, Process, and Respond to problems using 10 Wise Ways, skills that help them stop and think. Without CPR, they use their Lizard Brain and react without thinking.[3]

f6140176 9b2f 4688 b3db d70bf0321a2d
574c83e3 19f9 4dc1 bf0e 44c3dea3d419
2b5bbce5 7aa9 46ff bdb6 3ae6786b4f2c
4bda3b77 a46b 4cbc 8de4 845fa7571ba5
989d6b78 f0b5 40d9 a5f1 ffbd0de40f41
500356a9 b3d5 4c35 b8de 7cc71c0c086c
bdf17dc8 0bdc 41ba ad36 5e866adaec88
023d8914 8613 487b a58a 15b13317326c
b0deeb6f 0a2e 4088 9ab2 9903e624cb07
a6bfaaab 3622 4d59 bc93 5ba07e83db49


The 10 Wise Ways – building a constellation of support, recognizing red flag warnings, managing their emotions, separating fact from opinion, asking questions, identifying choices, considering consequences, setting goals, and responding effectively – are reinforced with practice. Past newsletters have provided links to worksheets for the 10 Wise Ways (Issues 49, 50, 51, and 53.)

Reinforcement is critical, and children learn to apply the Wise Ways to problems faced by characters in stories, animations, movies, and current events as well as to themselves. This awareness and practice helps them learn to apply Wizard Brain thinking to their own situations. “BrainWise makes you feel smart,” proclaimed a young graduate. The program’s universal application is shown by a drawing made by a teenager in Kunming, China. Everyone has problems, but BrainWise skills help you deflect them.

51f796b7 487a 4b18 87f8 209b54fc4b76
4th Grade BrainWise Class
“BrainWise Makes You Feel Smart”
f468460e e98d 470b ac91 87fe06ce49e4
Chinese Teenager’s Drawing  
“BrainWise Helps Protect You

[1] A big shout out to Jane Brody Koenke, creative designer of the BrainWise brand and advocate extraordinaire, for the link to Dr. Snyder’s insights:
[2]Point of View (POV) is taught in Wise Way #10.
[3] Lizard Brain survival reactions help us when we are in danger (pulling  finger from a hot pot, spitting out rancid food, jumping out of the way) but cause harm when we lose our tempers, seek revenge, refuse help, and other behaviors that hurt us. Click here for a copy of BrainWise CPR Harmful/Helpful Reactions worksheet.
As I write this, we are several months into the pandemic. Vaccines will soon be available, logistics for dispersing them are in progress, and hopes are high that schools will be reopened. I agree with Dr. Snyder that the emotional needs of children are a priority. She reminds us, “when children return to school, they will have returned with a new history that we will need to help them identify and make sense of.”  The 10 Wise Ways instill thinking skills for life. Thank you for teaching BrainWise.  Peace and joy to you and your loved ones.
Take care, stay safe, and thank you for being BrainWise!
44579c7d 873f 4b7d 8f0f 1bf4d4b37ebe
Dr. Pat


Please “like” us to help us get the 10 Wise Ways out to more people:
11f024c8 3975 42d7 9741 3fb81a9b35e2


19f0a031 b8f3 4445 aad6 dd1e40864d83


f82eac08 e391 4237 9ac1 bdd070e4a6d9


BrainWise instructors who have purchased BrainWise curricula can receive free interactive BrainWise worksheets by contacting If we don’t have a  record of your purchase, please send us a picture of you with your curriculum.    
On a Lighter Note
The following YouTube video presents a talented choir of children singing a beautiful and heartfelt song about memories.  It was produced during Covid,  and the children are singing from their homes. The voices and sound design are first rate.
Maroon 5 - Memories | One Voice Children's Choir Cover
Maroon 5 – Memories | One Voice Children’s Choir Cover
BW Logo Color
The BrainWise Program
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
View our profile on LinkedIn
Find us on Pinterest
Please follow and like us:

BrainWise, Generative AI and ChatGPT

Alberta-based psychologist, Dr. Gary Brayton, has been a champion of the BrainWise program for over a decade, training educators and health providers across the province. His protégé, counselor Colton Hok, shares his enthusiasm, citing the “tremendous success” and “impactful” changes he’s seen in clients. Colton serves nine school divisions in Alberta, reaching 40,000 students. He […]

Read More »

2023 BrainWise Program Review

BrainWise is taught in grades K-12 and in their homes, and in youth, health, and social service agencies. The following 2023 review highlights programs that show the scope of projects and introduces new additions for 2024. If you are a BrainWise instructor and do not have access to our past newsletters through the online BrainWise […]

Read More »

Taylor Swift Case Used to Teach BrainWise

BrainWise students from Denver’s CEC Early College High School recently attended the Rotary International Zones 26 and 27 Institute in San Diego, where Rotary leaders from 30 Rotary Districts and 1700 clubs in the Western United States and Canada had gathered to obtain training, resources, and tools to implement and enhance projects in their clubs […]

Read More »