Fed Up / Hōhā

This is all about the snappy, out-of-sorts behaviour we see (and do) sometimes. Here's some tips to help tamariki clamber out of this frustrating feeling.
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A bit of background

We all have days when we just feel irritable, tired and annoyed -when the ‘fed up and hōhā’ temperature gauge runs from the bored/tired type, to the irritable/snappy type, to the hyperactive/disruptive type. And when we feel fed up or hōhā it’s pretty hard to just ‘be’ with ourselves, let alone others!

Oftentimes we know we feel like this and are behaving unfairly or out-of-sorts but it can be really hard to find a reason why, or a way of clambering out.

This doesn’t tend to be an emotion we need to do lots of detective work around. The most important teachable moment is that tamariki (and us) recognise these ‘scratchy’ emotions early and find ways to manage or regulate them before they lead to disengaged or disruptive behaviour – especially as these moods are often contagious!

Inspire (and try)

In the moment

Gather your strength, energy and sense of fun, and announce to the class that it seems there’s some lingering tiredness or ‘fed-up-ness’ in the air and while that’s okay sometimes, right now there’s the worry it’s going to produce an ‘outbreak’. A Hōhā Outbreak!

Then with ninja stealth try to move kids out of the mood using –

  • Movement
  • Distraction
  • Humour
  • All of the above!

If some tamariki are still finding things challenging, offer them some quiet time and check in on them. Again, praise this choice and their efforts.

The goal is for tamariki to learn to regulate their emotions, and this exactly what they’re doing.

When there's some time

Our top three Sparklers activities to alleviate fed-up-ness and feeling hōhā are:

Praise tamariki for taking part and for the more positive moods you’re seeing (and feeling!).

Enquire (and notice)

If these irritable feelings are coming up regularly in the classroom, have a think about some other approaches and perhaps contributions to this behaviour, consider:

  • Kai time – are tamariki hungry or dehydrated?
  • Is it during a particular time of the day? E.g. the afternoon slump or morning tiredness?
  • Is it during a particular subject? This may indicate a student is finding the work challenging or feels like they’re not good at it. Perhaps bring in some growth mindset strategies
  • Is it with a particular child and something that seems to be recurring or happening anytime? It may be something is up – at home or with a friendship group. Try and find some quiet time to catch up and let them know what you’re noticing. Offer to try and help subtly in order that nothing is broadcast to the rest of the class.
  • The ongoing presence of feeling hōhā for a child may represent that something needs to change You might try reflecting on this with your student - “I wonder what would need to be different or to change for the feeling of hōhā to go away?”
    Allow them some time to think about this - they may like to draw or write something. If they do share anything that concerns you, follow your school protocols in ensuring you are advocating for their wellbeing.

Plan (and reflect)

Have a think about what’s worked in the past and perhaps consider planning some time to include:

  • Sensory Kete – this is not just for younger tamariki, anyone can benefit from getting together a few things which help us regulate our emotions.
  • Activities promoting growth mindset, mindfulness (noticing early how we’re feeling) and strengths work may all be great ways to begin to ‘challenge’ our emotions and how they affect our moods, behaviours and others. It’s okay to feel any emotion, it’s what we do with it that matters.
  • Consider setting up some correspondence with ‘home’ and whānau — explain you’ve been working on learning new ways to manage big emotions - this way it's about every child, rather than anyone being 'in trouble' for their big emotions! As a starting point check out these home-school shareable resources which include a letter home to parents, handy Sparklers promos and a selection of parenting guides. The guides focussed on How to help keep kids calm or How to help kids feel good might be very useful! Perhaps too include some information on the importance of routines - hōhā tamariki may be tired tamariki not getting enough sleep. Use our routine information and cool charts for younger and older tamariki to make this fun.

Review (and follow up)

We think if you’re managing tamariki (and yourself) when fed-up-ness and hōhā have been out on the prowl, you’re doing an awesome job and can just put your feet up for a bit!

We love the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) approach and encourage working in this creative and strengths-based way. We’ve adapted their ‘Encourage Positive Behaviours’ model for Sparklers. and recommend familiarising yourself with this and as your go-to for further analysis and as a matter of fantastic practice!

Encouraging positive behaviours via a classroom and whole school approach… how cool is that?!

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