Do you have a child (or a class of them) who need some help learning to regulate their emotions without breaking down and disrupting everyone around them? Have a look at the Shine A Light Products.
about me market sent us 2 sturdy wipe-off boards, markers, and bookmarks for Tristan and Kallista to try out. I chose the shine a light – emotional checklist ages 8 & up for home for Tristan, and the shine a light emotional checklist ages 5-7 for home for Kallista (There are different boards to be used in classroom settings and at home; as well as different age groups).
My children are pretty good, and I hope they feel like they have some control over their lives and what they’d like to do. However, they are normal children and do break down on occasion. I want to help give them the tools to learn to take control over their behaviour and emotions before they explode.
The kids were happy to try out the boards immediately as they were new and shiny and interesting. This is Kallista before I’d even read through the information that came with the boards.
What the kids do is write down or circle how they are feeling, and how strong their emotion is. Who or what is behind their feelings, and there’s also a place to check off what will help make them feel better (a hug, some water, exercise, talking, etc.). For the older kids, there is also a place for them to think through and write down the worst case scenerio and what the likelihood of it occurring is.
I had hoped that by the children using the boards and becoming familiar with them while they were in a happy mood, would get them used to how they worked. Then I had planned to bring them out again when they weren’t feeling quite so calm so that I could find out more about their moods and how to help them.
Unfortunately, when my children’s moods swing, it’s with great swiftness. If I then ask if they’d like to use their Shine A Light board, they are already so worked up that they don’t want to stop and think and take the time to get into the reasons behind their emotions.
On this day, however, Kallista was agreeable and drew a picture of herself very sad. She indicated that a hug would help her feel better (this is usually the magic ingredient for her happiness).
Now that Tristan knew what was wrong with Kallista, and how he could help, he was the first to comfort his little sister with a hug and kind words.
On the bookmarks, it explains how to use your own ‘reset’ button to help you calm down. This technique is the same as one I’d recently learned in a childminding course (you’ll know it as ‘take a big breath’; in the course it was, sniff the flowers (in through the nose) and blow out the candles (out through the mouth). Shine A Light adds another element to this technique, by putting a finger above your upper lip – resetting your button. Giving anther physical element, has worked for us, and Kallista does come back to this technique on her own.
I do think these boards are a really good idea. They could be of benefit for children who are not very verbal and have trouble expressing themselves to others.
In a classroom, not all children are happy-go-lucky. These boards could help them let teachers know what is going on at home or on the playground; things that are cluttering up their heads and distracting them from their lessons.
And although I haven’t had total success using these in our home, I am keeping them where the kids can use them when they want/need to. I do hope that they will pick it up now and again and help us know what they’re thinking and feeling, as well as letting us know how we can comfort and support them.