Category Archives: health

Don’t Be An ANGRY BIRD: Lessons on Anger Management for Kids

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There are two major things that are prominent in our home right now: the Angry Birds game and a 4 year old learning to deal with her frustrations. Maybe it’s all the hours we have spent shooting birds at stinky little pigs, but I started to see a lot of connections between the Angry Bird game and my own little angry “chick”.  The angry faces, the lashing out at others, etc. Her anger was a big emotion for such a small child to control.
So the idea was “hatched”(pun totally intended): use the Angry Birds as a way for teaching anger management to my daughter!
And so far, I LOVE it. My daughter understands the inappropriate ways of expressing anger as well as strategies to help calm her down.

The background of this technique is simple: like most kiddos, my daughter was struggling with a few different inappropriate ways of expressing her anger. To help her understand this better, I assigned a bird to each inappropriate behavior.  Side note: It is important to explain to our kids that feeling angry is completely normal. Don’t discipline your child because they feel angry…just teach them the appropriate ways of dealing with frustration, and clearly define those behaviors that are unacceptable.

Perfect demonstration of those angry eyes!!
Let me give you a more detailed explanation of each bird:

 

The eyebrows say it all… this bird has the meanest glare in town! It is the perfect bird to model inappropriate facial expressions. Although this may seem like such a minor side effect of anger, most parents will understand when I say unruly behavior started with a certain look in a child’s eyes. And if looks could kill, well…let’s just say my sweet, SWEET Boo would be a lethal weapon! 🙂

 

Just like this bird cuts through wood in the game, our mean words can cut through people’s hearts. The old saying “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is thrown out the window (in my opinion). We should speak to others the way we would want to be spoken to… tone of voice included. Yelling and screaming might not cut through my heart, but it definitely cuts through my ears! 🙂

 

 

 

Keep objects to yourself…throwing toys (or in the bird’s case- bombs) is not an appropriate way of expressing your anger! Not only can your hurt somebody else physically- you are not showing respect to your property.

 

 

 

Sometimes anger can build and build inside of us until we just EXPLODE…just like the bomb bird. It is also known as the kicking, pounding on the floor, wailing, gnashing of teeth behavior that we refer to as a tantrum. Our kids need to learn that when they are angry, it is inappropriae to let their body explode.

 

 

Once I had created these birds, I explained their angry behaviors to my daughter. We talked about better ways to deal with our frustrations (We don’t want to be like an angry bird!) When she gets upset now, she can tell me which angry bird(s) she was acting like- which I like because she can recognize the inappropriate behavior.

Boo learning about the angry birds

Here are some of the APPROPRIATE strategies I taught my daughter to help her deal with anger. Teach your child the different strategies, and let them decide which work best for her.

  • Go to the BIRDS NEST (aka bedroom or quiet place) until our body feels calm.

  • Breathe, breathe, breathe!  Deep breathing will deliver oxygen to our heart, brain, and the rest of our body. It will relax our bodies so we in turn can relax our mood. To illustrate this techinique- have your child take long, deep breaths to fill their lungs up like the orange balloon bird. Then slowly breath our the air, and repeat as needed. We call this the BALLOON BIRD BREATHING.

  • STOP and THINK. Think about the other person’s feelings and the consequences of inappropriately expressing your anger. OK, what 4 year old is going to understand that jargon, right? Have them think of the boomerang bird. Teach your kiddo that their choices will come back and affect them- just like that bird comes back. For example, if your child chooses to say mean things when she is angry, her friend might not want to play with her again. Her choice is coming back to her. Is that what she really wants? Another phrase I hear parents say to an angry child “How would you feel if someone said or did mean things to you?” Children need to understand that there are consequences for their behavior.  I know this is still a difficult concept for little ones to grasp, but teach and model as best as you can. You may choose to focus on the BIRDS NEST and BALLOON BIRD BREATHING techniques at first.

What do you do if your little angry bird just isn’t cooling down on their own?
It’s times like this that the mighty Mommy Eagle swoops down, picks up the little angry bird, and puts her in piggy tower for a time out (which is currently against the wall).

Here is a short video of Boo learning about the inappropriate behavior of the angry birds via stuffed animals (baby ibex, baby triceratops, and a baby golden eagle- my kiddo loves her unusual animals!)


So there you have it: anger management for kids, angry bird style.

Just because we love the angry birds game, doesn’t mean we love the angry bird behavior in our little ones!

Happy Teaching!

 

UPDATE:

Click HERE to download the Angry Bird PDF pages (much easier than using the WIKI!)

Quiet Kits: Healthy and Unhealthy Foods Sort

I have been busy creating some new quiet kits for my almost 4 year old little girl. Our kits have evolved right along with my Boo. As she is getting older and has a longer attention span, I am able to pull more independent activities (versus how am I going to entertain my child so she can actually SIT for 30 minutes!!!)
I saw a great pocket folder set at Really Good Stuff. Like many of you, I can’t spend enough time thumbing through teacher magazines and I can spend plenty of money on teaching supplies! I saw this and knew immediately that I would embark on a DIY version and incorporate that into our latest quiet kits!

The Basics:

  • a pocket folder, I have parent/teacher communication folders that I LOVE (because they have clear plastic pockets.. including a clear pocket on the cover!)
Sunday Sorts: Unhealthy and Healthy Foods

  • Cover… because we all know an educational experience is never complete without looking cute 🙂 

  • Sorting cards and labels. The child sorts the food cards into two categories- healthy and unhealthy. This is simple, can be done as an independent quiet activity for an older child or a teaching activity for a younger child. My darling energetic preschooler will sit and do this sort twice! It’s a winner around here!!
This sort would be a perfect fit for units on nutrition, health, and taking care of our bodies. It can spark conversations on the importance of eating right and the consequences of our food choices.
The images in this sort were mainly found from google images. And the great copyright follower that I am forgot to write down where I grabbed the pics. For that reason I ask that you use this sort (and other sorts to be posted in the future) for home/classroom use only.
I hope this helps your little ones learn more about those healthy food choices!

Toddler Tug-o-War

Toddler Tug-o-war
Here’s an easy and fun activity that will only require two bibs! Loop the two bibs together and have your tot hold one bib and you hold the other. Then have your tot pull on the bibs. My daughter didn’t really get the concept of pulling at first, but it will come quickly with this game.
A great suggestion is to be sure that your tot is sitting down so that when the loops break he doesn’t lose balance and fall down. Laugh and clap when the bibs pull apart and talk about which one stayed together and which one opened up. Talk about the colors of the bibs, and any words or pictures on them. For the older toddlers, have them hold the bib in their right hand and then the left hand while pulling each time. Then try to see if he can pull the bibs apart by himself. My daughter thought this game was hilarious and we played it over and over and over…. (you know how it goes!)

Supplies Needed-
– 2 bibs

This activity was taken from TODDLERTODDLER.com- check out this great site!

Toddler Twister

Toddler Twister!-
This is a fun game for the whole family to play! One way to play is to print out a sheet of shapes and then cut them out, but you can use large foam shapes or shapes drawn on an old white sheet. The sheet idea would be easy to pack around anywhere- go play in the backyard! Put the shapes (or shape sheet) on the floor and then have your toddler stand or sit on each shape. Once she has mastered that, then have her put one foot/hand on one shape and the other foot/hand on another shape. Maybe she can touch her nose to a shape! If your shapes are multi-colored, you can discuss each of the colors as your tot hops on and off the shapes.

Supplies Needed-
– shapes (can be made out of paper, or if you have foam or material shapes they would work as well)
– masking tape
– floor space

taken from TODDLERTODDLER.com- great resource for tot games!

Happy Playing!

Food Group Fun

There are some simple, easy resources to teach your little one about the 5 food groups! I struggled at first to come up with some ideas- but I think I have come up with a well-rounded list:

  1. see ’em. Why not see where the fruits and vegetables come from by visiting a garden? It will make a lot more sense when trying to explain that vegetables grow in the ground and fruit grows in the trees if they have seen it with their own two eyes.
  2. serve ’em. Make sure, if possible, that you have a variety of foods (in the food group you are learning about) available at home for your little one to try. Eating food can be just the ticket to make the food groups fun!
  3. read about ’em. There are tons of great books out there that will teach your kiddos about the food groups and proper nutrition.
  4. sing ’em. There are a couple sites with some food group songs: Food Guide Pyramid and CanTeach
  5. wear ’em. I am not talking about a food fight. How fun would it be to have 6 little kiddos wearing paper bag vests filled with a variety of foods from the food group (cut from grocery ads) that they glued themselves? Or have one kid be the veggies, one be the fruit,etc. Just an idea!
  6. sort ’em. Take out your plastic food and put them to use by doing a food sort. I used these cards and they worked great (see the do it yourself section down below to download). If you don’t have plastic foods, just print pics of the foods or download a second set of cards to match.

Here are the sorting cards for the food groups from this great site. They have some great downloads.

There are some food pyramid coloring sheets from the Produce for Better Health Foundation. There are some arts and crafts ideas using the food groups from Everything Preschool. Check out the nutrition page on our site’s wiki for more ideas!


Happy Teaching!

Swinging

Swinging
What kid doesn’t like to swing? If your little one seems ready, you can start showing them how they move their legs to pump in the swings. It may take awhile to pick up, but if they are trying they are making the swing more of an exercise than a ride!

Supplies Needed--swing

My daughter could sit on a swing for hours. Literally. I am excited to make this a more active game for her and I know she’ll have fun! And thats what its all about! 🙂

Hula Hoop

Hula Hoop
Grab a hula hoop and you and your tot can have lots of fun! There are many different games you can play with one of these simple toys. You can have a hula hoop contest to see who can keep it up the longest (without holding it of course), you can roll them, you can use them as giant sorting rings to sort (if you have 5 hoops sort plastic food by the food groups OR if you have 2 sort by opposites like things you use at night/day and hot/cold- possibilities are endless!) You can also toss the hoops and see who can throw them the farthest!

Supplies Needed-– at least one hula hoop!

Toddler Twister

Activity copied directly from TODDLERTODDLER.COM
Toddler Twister
This is a fun game for the whole family to play! Print out the sheet of shapes and then cut them out. Tape them to the floor in a small group and then have your toddler stand or sit on each shape. Once she has mastered that, then have her put one foot/hand on one shape and the other foot/hand on another shape. Maybe she can touch her nose to a shape! She might have to think about what to do next with her body? Or she might turn in circles to try. You’ll enjoy watching her and she’ll have fun with all the shapes.

Supplies Needed- – Printer to print out the shapes—-
( or use construction paper)
– masking tape
– floor space
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Tips/Suggestions-
– Ask your toddler to jump on each shape, then jump off to review “on” and “off”

– Talk about the colors of the shapes while trying to put a hand/foot on each one.

-Show by example…see how twisted up you can get and your toddler will get a chuckle seeing you try and then falling down.

I am really excited to try this out with my daughter! Our good camera is in the shop getting repaired (thank heavens we purchased the extended warranty) so if I take pics I will update this post.

Happy Teaching and have lots of fun!

Dance

Dance
All you need is a good beat and dancing seems to come naturally! This is a good time for our little ones to show some freedom of expression with their movements and to just have a good time. We dance at least once every day-not only is it good exercise, but my daughter really enjoys moving (and I am happy to see her release some of that energy!)

Supplies Needed-– music (CD, piano, guitar, other instruments, singing, musical toys, etc)
ribbon sticks add a little pizazz to the dance but are not necessary for fun!

Movement Cards


Movement Cards Print a set of cards and you have an instant variety of fun activities! There are some sets to download (see the do it yourself section at the end of this post). You can play these cards in a variety of ways- from just drawing one card at a time and doing the activity, to having a race to see how many cards you can complete in a given amount of time, to setting the cards in a circle and doing the activities as you walk around…. there are many more!

Supplies Needed-– a set of cards (see below to download)

Downloads: There are 3 different sets of movement cards. One is a very simple set I made for my daughter when she was about 1. The second set came about when I read this great blog post on the ABC’s of movement- we worked together and came up with a set of movement cards. Anyway you choose to go, these movement cards will keep your tots busy!
Set One
Set Two

Happy Teaching!

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