Anger Management for the 6 Year Old

I'm not sure if I have spent much time writing about this but I have a six year old who really knows how to flip his lid.  I mean, seriously, this kid can go from fine to crumpled up on the floor in two seconds.  Yesterday was an exceptionally bad day for Ian.  It seemed like every hour there was something that triggered that over the top emotional response from him...  When he gets like this it is really challenging.  Not only is he crying and lashing out, he also says really mean things, usually directed at me.

Now, I realize I am his safe person, and I don't take it personally, but damn!  The boy needs some skills!!!

So I have recently heard about the mind jar.  One of the parents in one of my groups shared that they had seen it on-line, and I was intrigued by it.  It is basically a jar that is full of glitter (think snow globe) that kids (or adults) can use to calm down.  When you shake it, the glitter goes swirling around, mesmerizing the watcher, as it slowly gathers at the bottom of the jar.

Ian and I made one today.  Here is what it looks like when the glitter is flying:

Ian and I talked about how he feels when he is angry.  We talked about that out-of-control feeling.  We talked about how it doesn't feel good.  I told Ian that the next time he felt like that, he could get his mind jar, shake it up and take deep breaths while he watched the glitter settle.  It takes a little over 2 and a half minutes for all the glitter to come to the bottom, plenty of time to cool off.  It is really mesmerizing to watch - I really hope it is a tool that Ian choses...

Another thing we worked on today was an Anger Wheel.  I wanted Ian to realize that there are many choices when it comes to helping yourself calm down, some of which he already does.  We worked together to make a list of things he could do when he was feeling mad that would help him put his "thinking cap" back on.  Below is the wheel we created with all the ideas on it.  He wanted to make it into a spinner, which may or may not be helpful when it comes time to use it.  The main idea is that Ian now has some tools for helping himself calm down when he is full of emotion...

There are plenty of adults that have a problem with managing their anger (hello - road rage)... I want to teach my kids how to handle their emotions now, so that they can be high functioning adults.  I want to create the space (remember last post???) for Ian to realize that he can handle his emotions, that I have faith in him and his ability to choose what works for him.  I am hoping that these tools work for him.  I know they won't be what he chooses every time - sometimes he may just want to stay ticked off - but if he begins to choose them some of the time, then this was time well spent.  :)

Smiles ~ Casey