Because this program aims to challenge children to learn and grow, they can become frustrated during game play as they face difficulties. These moments of frustration provide a great opportunity to teach children strategies for self-calming, anger management, and frustration tolerance. The goal is to help them practice these strategies in a safe environment, where a parent is available to support and scaffold these skills for them in a patient manner.

Additionally, when children experience different forms of stress/anxiety during the program, it is an excellent chance to teach them about what anxiety is, why humans experience it, and what we can do about it. Plus, several of the strategies that will be covered in the next lessons benefit from parents and children being familiar with these concepts.

Below is a helpful short video introduction to anxiety that might give you ideas about how to frame these conversations:

Strategies that can help with self-calming include:

⦁ Teach children that the stress response they feel sometimes, such as the increased heartrate or sweaty palms, is just a sign that their body is getting ready for action. It doesn’t always have to be seen as a negative thing; rather, it can be a signal that they’re prepared to take on new challenges.
⦁ Encourage positive self-talk, such as “I can handle this, I’ve done tough things before that I didn’t think I could.”
⦁ Do brief, moderate-to-intense physical activity (jumping jacks, sprints, etc.)
⦁ This provides a physical release of that stress/anxiety
⦁ Squeeze a ball, etc., to let out frustration
⦁ Try deep breathing exercises to reduce their heart rate.
⦁ Have them breath in for 4 seconds, then slowly breath out for 6-8 seconds. Repeat this.
⦁ Try visualization (see website below for an example).

For more examples, or additional details on the techniques listed above, please visit the website below: