Worrying about things we can’t control can be very frustrating and anxiety-inducing. Instead, we should try to channel our efforts into things we can change. It’s a similar concept to the serenity prayer:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
For young students, this can be especially challenging as they’re told when to go to school, when to go to bed, and what they have to eat. But, this circle of control lesson will help students evaluate what things are within their control, and which things are outside of their control.
And after completing the circle of control lesson, your students will have made progress in emotion regulation and in reducing anxiety.
Circle of Control Lesson Directions
Have your students write, type, or draw things they can control inside the circle. For example, they can decide how much effort they put into their homework, their attitude towards others, and maybe some students can choose what outfit they wear.
Students will also brainstorm things they cannot control and write those outside of the circle. The weather, who their teacher is, when they have a test scheduled, and what other people say to them are all examples of things they cannot control.
As you discuss the items inside and outside of the circle of control, consider ways for how you might help students deal with ones on the outside. For example, while they will not be able to control the weather, they can decide how they feel about it.
Also, consider pairing this lesson with additional coping skills and strategies for dealing with the challenges outside of their control.
- The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
- Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere by Kira Willey and Anni Betts
- Little Monkey Calms Down (Hello Genius) by Michael Dahl and Oriol Vidal