Ever feel like you have sent a child you know off to school, but when you pick them up at the bus stop seven hours later you get a big ball of anger and frustration instead of your child? They jump down from the bus and greet your smile with a grumpy face and a grunt instead of a hello? This isn’t an uncommon reaction. Many children hold their behavior and feelings in all day, and when they get home, they simply can’t hold it in any longer. For my oldest this was a real problem. As a people pleaser he worked so hard to stay perfectly in line at school, and by 3 pm it was enough, he knew I would love him no matter what and BAM! He’d explode. For him it was just a matter of time and adjusting to a longer day but how I wish we’d had these Feeling Buddies from Conscious Discipline to use back then. I was asked by the folks at Conscious Discipline to try Feelings Buddies out and share my thoughts in a sponsored post. I am happy to share our experience because I know how many emails I get from parents asking for ideas on how to help their children control their emotions.
The Feeling Buddies are part of a whole system from Conscious Discipline about feelings and self-regulation designed for home use. If you are a teacher you may already be familiar with Dr. Becky Bailey and Conscious Discipline; perhaps you studied it in a class on behavior management or in a professional development seminar. If you are not familiar with Dr. Becky A. Bailey, let me catch you up. Dr. Becky A. Bailey is an award-winning author and internationally recognized expert in childhood education and developmental psychology. As a graduate student studying child development I appreciate that all she creates is based on research, this isn’t a system that is based on old concepts, everything in the Feelings Buddies program from Managing Mayhem, the book for parents to the video coaching to the buddies themselves were created using current developmental psychology research.
So who are these Feeling Buddies? How do families use them?
First, before you introduce the Feeling Buddies to your child you need to do a little reading. Managing Emotional Mayhem is an easy read, but it’s incredibly useful. All families are their own little systems and parents must be in control of their feelings before we can expect kids to manage theirs.
After that you are ready for the video coaching, these short videos are anything but boring. I was thoroughly charmed with Dr. Bailey; she has a knack for breaking down the research into bite size and easy to digest bits of info for any parent to take in.
Then it’s time to introduce your child to the buddies. One thing that Dr. Bailey stresses is that these buddies are not toys, they are tools, you don’t dress your buddies up, or pop them in the doll stroller. I thought that would be hard for my youngest, but she accepted it right away. I also wasn’t sure what she’d think of the buddies, but she took to them right away. We created a safe place to keep our buddies and a few other things to help my daughter feel safe and calm when she was feeling big emotions.
One thing I love about the buddies is the range of feelings that they represent. There isn’t just a happy buddy; there is a calm buddy too. There isn’t just an angry buddy but frustrated buddy and so many more because being able to pinpoint their feelings is the first step in being able to control them.
Like any system, one of the keys to success is to stick with it. It’s easy to stick with the Feeling Buddies because they are a fantastic tool. I know many of you are dealing with kids have huge emotions, and this system for families is well worth checking out. All kids have big emotions, and it’s not always easy as a parent to react to them the right way every time. This system not only helps the child but also the parent learn to respond instead of reacting to the emotions and work together towards self-regulation.
You can find more info about Feeling Buddies here. Click through to download a sample chapter from Managing Mayhem, see what’s included in the family kit, and watch a video preview of Feeling Buddies.
What is the upper age limit with these, in your opinion?
I have the same question as Jamie 🙂
Allison McDonald says
Honestly? In my opinion about 2nd grade or 8 years old. The company says older and I trust that it has worked with older kids but I know that for my kids, I don’t think they would be open to it at all after about 8.
Every child is different, though. My son at 10 wouldn’t even consider it but the book and the idea of a safe place and all the skills that the parents are taught have NO age limit.
Naomi E says
What a great way to help children learn how to identify what they are feeling! Thanks for sharing.