Parenting is hard and so is being a kid!
We want our kids to talk to us. Studies show they want that too, especially when they’re stressed. Connection Zoo® gives your kids the words to talk with you about the emotions, social stress or anxiety they’re experiencing.
Teach kids social, emotional and self-management skills doing something they love – PLAY – with something they love – ANIMALS! When played regularly, Connection Zoo® helps proactively develop awareness and self-management practices, so when your kiddo’s worry or anxiety shows up, they are equipped and ready to succeed!
We can all benefit from talking about and taking care of our social animals!
Using Connection Zoo as a family gives us the opportunity to play together, share experiences and normalize the conversation about emotions and anxiety. The multiple ways of playing allow us to personalize for our family and modify based on how much time we have available. We love the look and feel of the cards. It’s very appealing and differential, and we like the realistic animal images. -Parent
Message for Parents - How you show up matters!
Partner with your kiddos to help them THRIVE, not just survive
We are excited to share our I’m Okay. We’re Okay. informational video series and resources
to build your own social and emotional skills to take care of yourself and
be the best partner you can be for your kiddos!
Developing Resilience for Now and for Life
Shannon Murphy Robinson, Owner and Co-Founder of BrainSkills@Work and mother to 3 great kids, joins Kjirsten to talk about how to build resilience. While it’s ideal to learn resilience at a young age, it’s never too late! As caregivers, we need to continue to build our own resilience to model and teach our kids. Shannon shares a printable resource with us: 10 Quick Tools to Keep the Higher (Thinking) Brain Online.
Partners in Coping (when experiencing stress)
An interview with Kate Wessel, a licensed social worker within schools and the community and mother to a “pandemic preschooler.” Kate and Kjirsten talk about how we can recognize stress in the kids we care for and help them get what they need so they can more effectively regulate their emotions and behaviors. They also discuss how to become aware of and manage our own stress as well so we can be great partners to our kiddos.
A Little BIT of Feedback Goes A Long Way
An Interview with Erin Mies, Mom of 3 great kids (ages 8, 6, and 4) and Co-Founder of People Spark Consulting. Erin teaches us a simple and very effective way to give feedback that teaches and motivates behavior change – for kids and adults. And we can start using it immediately!
Developing our Kids’ Emotional Health
An Interview with Shelly Melroe, Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, Rhythm for Living Therapy and Counseling. Shelly shares with us the bodymind perspective for emotional regulation and ideas we can use to help their kids develop healthy regulation of their emotions and energy.
“Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl
Here are 5 ways to partner with your kids to meet their needs, especially when they are feeling big emotions:
- Make conversation about all feelings – those that feel good and those that don’t – normal and regular.
- Be a student of your own social and emotional intelligence, including self-awareness and self-management.
- Be a role model. Share how you’re feeling and process it out loud, in front of your kids. You might say, “I feel really frustrated right now. I’m going to take a break or pause and take a deep breath to calm down so I can think more clearly and make good choices about what I’m going to do with my frustration.”
- When your kids talk to you, treat it like a gift and give them all your attention. Put your devices away, look in their eyes and listen – really listen – with your ears and your heart. Respond to what you hear with phrases like, “Thank you for sharing that with me,” and “That sounds like it feels really bad,” and “Tell me more,” and “How can I help?”
- Partner with your kiddos to identify and meet their needs. It is important your goal is NOT to “fix” your child but rather partner to understand the need beneath the feeling and find ways to work WITH them to get their needs met (not do it for them).
- Technology and children’s relationships Connection Zoo® is a great screen-free play option!
- Cognitive and developmental advantages of traditional (physical) toys The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages play that brings parents and children together. Connection Zoo® can make that happen!
- Kids’ code word for “I’m anxious” Connection Zoo® can give your kids words to express what they’re experiencing
- Ways to support your socially worried child Playing with Connection Zoo® is one way!
- 5 Phrases to Avoid Using with your Child (and 5 Alternatives) How you respond matters!
- Social anxiety and the role of parents How you show up matters!