We are happy to report that the cards are being used in many families across the UK and beyond. Because of the simple faces and clear colours they appeal to children from a very young age. Children get quite excited when they see the cards for the first time and like to hold them and play with them, moving the cards around, putting them in piles and turning them over and over. Like any new thing its important for children to feel a connection. I suggest the cards are openly available in a little box or basket so they are accessible. This creates curiosity in the first instance.
To raise happy healthy children it is vitally important to give them time and attention, to listen to them, to talk to them and to hear them out. Because a lot of families are under pressure and strain due to other circumstances there isn’t always time to to this in the way that you want. Conversations are often limited to getting children ready for school, talking about mealtimes or the homework they need to do. Its getting through each day, surviving but not always thriving.
If you are reading this then you are already a caring parent looking at how to be the best you can be to raise happy healthy youngsters and we all know that what children need more than anything, more than toys, more than phones and more than X boxes is quality time with parents. SO many children in our society are suffering mental health issues from an early age. There is a lot of pressure and stress on our youngsters.
The cards make it very easy to have deep and meaningful conversations with your children about their feelings, their emotions, their thoughts, their fears, their worries and their stress. Because there are so many positive cards in the pack it also offers opportunity for children to express their pride, inspirations, motivations, hopes and dreams.
The cards combine a number of therapeutic models and are perfect to help children talk about their basic simplistic feelings as well as the MOST difficult of issues. The questions on the back are powerful and the CBT 3 question approach helps youngsters to really think about themselves (developing self-awareness), look at other perspectives (gaining empathy) and challenges them to discover new ways to make changes (cognitive development and rational thinking).
When you use the cards with your children allow them to give their answers. Do not try to influence what they say but just let them express themselves and follow with more questions:
Example of Helpful v. Unhelpful parent responses
Child chooses the sad card
Parent: Why did you choose the sad card? (helpful opening question)
Child: Because my friend was mean to me today
Parent: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that you feel sad (reflecting the word sad is a powerful way to let your child know they have been heard)
Parent: What did your friend do that was mean (shows interest)
Parent: Don’t talk to her anymore – she’s not very nice – (parent takes over the problem and shuts conversation down)
Child: She wouldn’t let me share her toys
Parent: What did that feel like for you? (helps child express deeper and talk about what is bothering them)
Where do you feel sad? Is it in your tummy? Where is the sadness? (helps child to be mindful and connect with physical senses)
Child: It hurts in my chest
Parent: Does it have a colour? (helps child to express even more and this will change the feeling considerably)
GIVE TIME FOR YOUR CHILD TO RESPOND
Parent: What do you think about not sharing? (helps child to develop thinking skills)
Parent: I’ll speak to the mother and get this sorted (disempowers the child)
Don’t feel sad (gives the message that its NOT ok to have feelings)
Don’t share your toys with her (doesn’t help your child to develop empathy
or find ways themselves to manage the problem – instead takes over the problem)
Child: I think its better to share, I like playing with my friends
Parent: I like that you want to share and enjoy playing with your friends (being specific with praise affirms the child and this will give your child confidence and build strong self-esteem)
The questions on the backs of the cards are guides and starting points for conversations to be adapted according to the child’s age and languages skills.
Some recent reviews by parents:
Mood cards are a fun way to discuss ‘the elephant in the room’ – as a mother of 3 daughters in late teens, I’d rather my girls express how they feel and act rationally in life choices rather than shooting from the hip and acting on their current mood. They’re inexpensive, niche and unusual – cheaper than a therapist and certainly the source of topics of conversation which find a deeper meaning to ‘family’
WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE! The first day me and my teen girls opened the pack of cards we played a game we made up. “Close your eyes and pick a card and then tell us a story related to that card that has happened to you or is happening to you now.” We had the best time. Some tears, some laughter, some EVERYTHING.
I opened the box and looked at the cards and thought “How can you look at cards with simple facial expressions and expect to get helped?” Very easily – is the answer!Having tried them on myself, I then approached my son, who is deaf and Asperger. He has a very difficult time expressing his true feelings, so taking the cards, he was able to go through them and put aside aspects that he’s struggling with, making it much easier for me to understand what is bothering him. I can see that these cards will play a huge part in trying to open up communication not only with my inner self, but in fact, with others around me.
My little grandchildren love looking at the cards and I ask them what the face looks like and this opens all sorts of conversations about school, friends and special outings. They play with them together and ask each other questions and its so cute watching them be quite natural in conversation. When they feel angry or upset the cards help me to ask the right sort of questions and it feels good to be part of their development in this way.
If you require any additional information on using the Mood Cards for families, please get in touch with Andrea.