Four Simple Questions: Resetting Mindsets for the New Year

The return to school after a long holiday break can be tricky for everyone. Routine is critical for success in any classroom—not only for our students but for our own practices as educators (read more about trauma-informed routines here). Having a trauma-informed mindset requires practice like any other skill. As you come back from school after the holiday break, there are simple questions you can ask yourself to reset your trauma-informed mindset.

  • Do you believe there is no such thing as a bad child?
  • Are you curious about unmet needs when you see challenging child behavior?
  • Are you viewing children through a lens of what is happening in their life rather than what is wrong with them?
  • Are you providing children with an environment of love and activity?

Badness is not a normal condition – it is the result of misdirected energy and unmet needs. Children flourish in an environment where they feel connected and safe. Reframe how you view challenging behavior. Perhaps a child is communicating through behavior that they are struggling with a challenge at home or with friends. Some children might need more opportunities to feel like they belong or that they are good at something. Maybe they need more structure and predictability after being away from the school routine for a week or two.

Asking yourself these four simple questions will help you get back to seeing children through a trauma-informed lens. Better yet, get your students involved! This is the perfect time of year for resetting mindsets for everyone. Download our free lesson on the power of new year's resolutions for students below. Is there anything your students are committing to that can help shape your perception of them?

By Dr. Caelan Soma, PsyD, LMSW

Dr. Caelan Soma, PsyD, LMSW, Chief Clinical Officer, provides oversight for all clinical operations and research at Starr Commonwealth. Dr. Soma provides trauma assessment and trauma informed, resilience focused intervention for youth utilizing evidence-based practices, including TLC’s SITCAP® model programs.

About Starr Commonwealth

Starr Commonwealth is dedicated to the mission to lead with courage to create positive experiences so that all children, families, and communities flourish. We specialize in residential, community-based, educational, and professional training programs that build on the strengths of children, adults, and families in communities around the world. To schedule a training or consultation, please contact or call 800-837-5591.