Need a Life Coach? This 5-Year-Old Can Help.

By Tara Parker-Pope for The New York Times

For 5-year-old Clark Todebush, the transition to kindergarten after two years of pandemic isolation hasn’t been easy. Sometimes he cries.

But when his mother recently told him she was feeling a little anxious about a meeting, he knew he could help. “Mama, I am nervous all the time,” he told his mother, Gwenyth Todebush. “I know what to do.”

What followed was a stream of uplifting advice worthy of a Brené Brown TED Talk. His mother was stunned to hear her son repeat, albeit through a 5-year-old’s filter, all of the coping skills she’s been trying to teach him. She posted their exchange on Twitter. Though Ms. Todebush had only a handful of followers — “Before this, it was me and 10 moms on Twitter who talked to each other,” she said — the post quickly went viral, and it has been retweeted nearly 24,000 times and liked more than 93,000 times.

“Everybody is kind of coping with one kind of stress or another in a pandemic,” said Ms. Todebush, who lives in northern Michigan. “I think it rang true with people. I said on Twitter that he’s the only life coach I know that gets paid in goldfish crackers.”

Here is Clark’s advice for coping with anxiety, accompanied by a few brief explanations for context from his mother.

“Another mom on Twitter talked about saying affirmations with their kid before school. We tried it. Sometimes I tell him, ‘Say it like you mean it.’ I guess he translated that.”

“He knows you can be scared of something, so he talks about being brave of things. I love the grammatical construction. I’ve never corrected it because I like it better. I don’t know where the ‘I smell good’ came up, but I like it. I’m going to use it a lot.”

Read more here.

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