Tips After Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’: How to Help Kids with Change
|Fear. Anger. Disgust. And, of course, Sadness.
These are just a few of the tough emotions that children may experience when dealing with change in their lives.
Changes can create a rough and confusing time, and often parents have a hard time knowing “the right” things to do to help kids handle change.
In Pixar’s new movie, Inside Out, the parents of 11-year-old Riley didn’t have the tools or resources in place to help their daughter deal with the difficult change of moving across the country….All the way from Minnesota to their new home in San Francisco (or “San Fran-Stinko” as the character, Anger, called it)!
Riley’s parents saw that she was upset, but they didn’t know what to do about it.
|The good news is, helping kids deal with change doesn’t have to be a roller coaster ride of ups and downs if parents have the right tools and tips.|
|Below are some powerful tools and tips for parents to help kids with change and the difficult feelings they may experience.|
|First, Teach Kids How to Use “The Grungies” to Share Hard Feelings|
|At first, Riley’s Mom didn’t recognize how sad and upset Riley was feeling about the move. Her Mom even praised her for keeping up a “happy face” for her Dad.|
|Sometimes as parents, we can unknowingly miss the signs of emotional distress in our kids. We can avoid this by reminding our children that all feelings are OK and that when they are feeling down, talking about their feelings can help them feel better. One way to help your kids is to give them an easy term to use to start the conversation.|
|At Adventures in Wisdom, the term we use is “the grungies.” The grungies are those sensations in your body that you experience when you are feeling sad, angry, frustrated, anxious, nervous, afraid, etc.
It’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach or the uneasiness you feel when you know something’s not right. We call these feelings grungies because kids sometimes have a hard time naming their feelings and explaining what they are experiencing inside—they just know they feel bad.
By teaching kids to look for the “grungies” they learn to understand their emotions and to recognize when it’s time to talk with a trusted grownup about how they’re feeling. Having a term like “the grungies” gives kids a “safe” way to open up about their feelings.
It also gives parents a great tool for checking in with how their kids are doing on a daily basis, whether big changes are happening in their lives or not. They can simply ask, “Are you feeling any grungies today?
|Second, Help Kids Feel Empowered About Change|
|It can be hard for kids to accept change when it’s something they didn’t want. Going back to school, changing schools, moving to a new house, or dealing with divorcing parents are changes that many kids will experience during their early years. You can help your kids integrate a change into their lives by helping them shift from feeling like a victim to feeling empowered about the change.|
|At Adventures in Wisdom, we use our story, “Changes in Paradise” to teach a three-step process to help kids with change.|
|Click here to get your own free story to use with your kids.|
|In the first step, kids learn to list all of their concerns about the change. Once the list is complete, they can then work with you to find solutions that will help them minimize or alleviate their concerns. Sometimes just talking about their concerns can help dissolve their fear or worry about the change.|
|In the second step, kids learn how to look for positive things about the change. This activity helps kids shift from focusing on their fears and seeing the negative aspects of the change to focusing on possibility and seeing the positive aspects of the change.|
|And in the third step, kids learn how to use visualization to imagine themselves experiencing all of the positive benefits of the change. As an activity, you can even create a vision board together to bring to life the change’s positive aspects.|
|Why are these steps so important in helping kids with change?|
|Because, ultimately, it is your thoughts that create your feelings. And, it is your thoughts that determine how you experience the events in your life. Teaching kids how to use this 3-step process to shift their thoughts about change will help them learn how to feel more empowered when facing change in their lives.|
|And this isn’t just about putting on a “happy face.” Just like Riley’s parents learned in Inside Out, it is still important for parents to acknowledge the difficult feelings kids may be experiencing in dealing with change—but we then need to provide our kids with powerful tools so they can create their own supportive thoughts. This can help kids learn to accept the change, and possibly even embrace the change, so they can move forward feeling more empowered.|
|At Adventures in Wisdom, we use fun short stories to teach kids how to develop a mindset for happiness, confidence, and success in their lives.
Click to access a free story for you and your family.
|Our Adventures In Wisdom team had a great time seeing Inside Out, and we hope you do, too!|
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