Before I had Davis everyone said things like, “Just you wait. This will be different” and “No two kids are the same.” While I knew that, I would have never imagined just how true and difficult it would be. I am a school counselor by profession and the one thing I have learned over the years is that two children from the same family can be very different and make extremely different choices with life.
With that said, all kids are going to respond differently to emotions. When Graham was little I can remember him “loosing it” pretty quickly but it seems like it didn’t take much to get him back on track. He was also a little more verbal and able to talk things out rather than becoming so frustrated. When Davis came along I felt like we needed to pull out a whole new bag of tricks. I used all of my counseling skills and “talk it out” skills but they just didn’t work the same for him.
So, when I was contacted about Emotional ABC’s I was excited to give it a try with Davis. This program is not cheap ($85) but I do like the research behind it and the way it is planned out. The idea is that when a child is faced with a situation they 1. Pause (breath and calm down), 2. Rewind (ID the feeling and think about why you are feeling that way and what you could do instead), 3. Play (Basically, replay the situation to make it better). Davis is three and has already started “pausing” and “breathing”. He needs a little help with the “rewind” part but it is something we work through together. Just the other day he was frustrated about something while we were in the car. He immediately started breathing in and out. I asked him what he was doing and he said, “I’m calming down”.
The program includes a box full of helpful info. The best item is the DVD that Davis really enjoys watching. It has kids that are in situations and deal with them using the 3 steps. It also includes a cute little monster for every feeling that illustrates the point and makes it more interesting for kids to watch. The workbooks can be helpful for older kids as well as the included game. I even put the magnet that was included on the fridge which helps Davis remember what he can do.
Overall, Emotional ABC’s is a great tool to help kids learn emotions and how to properly deal with them. As a school counselor I can tell you that it is important for kids to figure these things out early on before bad habits start to develop. It only gets harder as they grow older!
How do you help your kids handle emotions?