As a mother of five, managing conflicts and emotions has become a big part of my daily chores. I appreciate tools that help my children become more autonomous in dealing with their emotions and in dealing with conflicts.
I recently received two posters and am so happy that I brought them into my home!
The first poster offers strategies on how to remain calm. The illustrations make it easy for younger children to understand. The array of solutions is realistic and useful. The very first weeks, I would guide my children in exploring and finding out which solutions they preferred. It was also interesting testing the solutions when my children were calm, as they were able to explain why they chose one solution over the other.
The second poster offers strategies to avoid conflicts. I showed the poster to my children and we re-enacted typical situations of conflict. By recreating these conflicts, each child explored different solutions and strategies before finding the solution that suited him best.
I gave a lot of thought in finding the right location to put the two posters. They had to be in areas where the family spent the most of its time (to be able to keep an eye when one of the children was in crisis) but a bit away from all the action. I decided that the best place for the posters was in the hallway close to the living room and kitchen. A bit isolated and accessible from the main rooms in the house.
A timer, sheets of paper and pencils are useful tools that can be used with the posters which I put in a designated basket close to the posters. And because of my infant, I had to set the posters just a bit higher.
For the children to spontaneously keep referring to the tools and finding solutions, I try to establish links with everyday situations. For example, we were reading a book in which a conflict arose, this was the ideal opportunity to ask my children which solutions our main character could have chosen. The solutions can also be used during games, when re-enacting with puppets, etc.
The posters are neutral and become options that are less conflicting than having a parent involved with a solution. As time goes by, the child becomes more autonomous, he will refer to the illustrations and will finally be able to apply these solutions to his everyday life.