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crabbiemasters

Crabbie Alert! It’s Daylight Savings Time!

Too-Tired has brought in his auxiliary Crabbies!

A scowling Kay is surrounded by all eight Crabbies.

Being a CrabbieMaster is often a simple matter of recognizing when the Crabbies are going to come and preparing for them. Moving the clocks ahead for daylight savings time is going to be one of those times.

Here’s what I’ve seen happen time and time again:

Obviously, we are going to be struggling with Too-Tired until our bodies get used to the time change. What is not quite so obvious is what I like to call the supportive auxiliary crew that we end up dealing with along with Too-Tired.

I saw immediate evidence of the auxiliary team in preschool yesterday. The first one we kicked out before he had a chance to create any issue was Hungry! One of the girls said she was feeling hungry because she did not have time for breakfast! I gave her some yogurt and cereal, and before I knew it, I had the whole group lined up saying they were hungry too.

That’s the issue with the time change right there. Everyone’s sleep/wake schedule is off and Hurry-Up is right on the scene running interference with breakfast. So Hungry comes right in and then very likely, Junk-Food as everyone grabs something quick to eat.

This is where as a CrabbieMaster adult you need to be willing to be flexible. I was not anticipating the Hungry Crabbie yesterday, but you can bet today I will be. This time change is going to be an influencer for at least the week.

Next, I heard someone say, “I had that truck first.” Evidence of Get-Along! All it took was for me to remind them of the time change and how they were probably just a little tired and that we all know that Get-Along likes to be in our business when we are tired. This is where it works great to have a little fun! We went to the wall where we have pictures of all of the Crabbies and said, “Get-Along, stay out of our business!” That was all it took to make everyone laugh and start our day on a positive note! Get-Along was out of here for the whole day!

A smiling Kay has sent all eight Crabbies scurrying away.

The key really is to call out the Crabbies as soon as you see evidence that they are around. The challenge for the adult is to recognize which Crabbies are behind the behaviors!

Make it a great day!

Becky 🙂

It’s a Can’t-Do Crabbie ‘Twofer’

First, Can’t-Do Goes Solo…
and then, Can’t-Do Teams Up with Too-Tired.

Kay standing at edge of pool afraid as Can't-Do Crabbie tells her it's too scary to jump.

One of the most rewarding experiences I have in working with children is having a child join me in the fall and hearing from a parent in a very short time that their ‘timid child’ or their ‘negative’ child or their ‘defiant’ child has become so positive and self-confident.

Strong as it sounds, the reality is that the Can’t-Do Crabbie can really do a number on children. It impacts both how they think of themselves AND how others view them.

Beating Can’t-Do is very rewarding because of the confidence we gain in being able to do something we first see as difficult or something that we are afraid to even try. This is true for adults as much as it is for children. Teaching kids at a young age how to beat Can’t-Do gives them an incredible gift: Confidence! Confidence that sticks with them into their adult life.

For more basic Can’t-Do info, visit our website under Crabbies. We talk about the multiple faces of Can’t-Do. For the purposes of this post I will first address how to manage Can’t-Do when your child is faced with something they really cannot yet do and then second, when Too-Tired is – an often ‘hidden’ – part of the problem.

Setting your child up for success when they are faced with something completely new that they really won’t be able to do at first.

Sometimes your child may state, “I can’t” because they legitimately do not know how to do what is being asked of them. In these cases, it is important to teach them and to help them. This often requires breaking things down step-by-step or helping them master an easier task first. Another good strategy is to offer to do things together, with them taking on more responsibility than before at the same time that you help do things that are beyond their current ability level. Think of first time bowling (or anything else new). To start, use guard rails. At first the ball bounces off them a lot. They keep your child from getting frustrated and giving up because the ball hits some pins. Fun! So confidence grows. And with time, practice, feedback and funBye-Bye Guard Rails!

~~~~~~~

Whether your child is going to do something completely new or something they have done many times before, if they are tired, the chances of Can’t-Do being an issue is very close to 100%.

Kay has fallen off her bike while Can't-Do Crabbie tells her to not even try.

Fact #1: It does not matter how justifiable the reason for your child being tired is, the truth is that it is highly likely that being tired will come back to bite you when it comes to Can’t-Do.

Fact #2: It comes back to bite you because when they go to try something familiar or something new, even if they are not dealing with Too-Tired in that moment, the memory of the struggles of the previous attempts that didn’t work because of Too-Tired kicks in so that Can’t-Do still gets his foothold even without Too-Tired being right there.

I cannot stress enough how vital it is to recognize when Too-Tired is behind Can’t-Do when it comes to turning things around and changing your child’s ability to tackle those hopeless feelings that are behind Can’t-Do.

The good news is that as complicated as this sometimes seems, the amazing reality is that once you recognize when Too-Tired is the issue it is no longer complicated.

The first step is explaining calmly and kindly to the child that you know the real issue is that Too-Tired is teaming up with Can’t-Do.

Note: If you are in the early stages of being a CrabbieMaster yourself, recognize that over time your child will trust what you are saying in these situations. Adult/Child relationships are built over time. It is about intentionally creating positive interactions. Little by little. This is what CrabbieMasters is about.

The second step is to work with the child to first beat Too-Tired and then tackle something that they will be able to have success with to rebuild some ‘can-do’ confidence. And then move on again to try whatever’s harder!

Please feel free to comment here or private message me with your struggles or successes when it comes to beating Can’t-Do. The goal of CrabbieMasters is to build a supportive community.

Make it a good day.

Becky 🙂

 

Valentine’s Day Is Just No Fun

King here! I am taking over the blog today since Becky is so busy with all her little CrabbieMasters and their Goody Goody Wacky Week Fun!

Just as Get-Along and I team up with the Ice-Cold Crabbie to make more plans to ruin their days, she pulls this stunt.

Get-Along Crabbie with his red boxing gloves on and his tongue sticking out.Ice-Cold Crabbie shivering.

Blah!

We should not be surprised. She does this Wacky thing every year at this time.

Her little CrabbieMasters celebrate that awful holiday ❤️❤️❤️ Valentine’s Day ❤️❤️❤️ with all kinds of “friendship baloney!”

I for one am pretty sick of it. They are always talking about their number one rule: “Be Nice!”

Just look at this picture we found on the CrabbieMaster website. It is one example of the things we have to put up with.

 

Preschool group hug.

King Crabbie looking up to left.Gag!

 

Today we are not even going to bother hanging around. They’ll be exchanging Valentines and we won’t have a chance. We had our fill already this week. They all brought something for what they called a Friendship Snack.

Everyone was going crazy thanking each other. You would have thought they had learned how to fly they were so excited.  Yesterday, they all went sledding. That was quite possibly The Worst. All that laughing. We were sort of hoping we could at least see a crash, but their second rule is “Have fun without being wild,” so forget it if you think someone is going to walk up the sledding path and someone else is going to come down the hill and send anyone flying. We tried to hang around waiting for that and it just isn’t happening.

Don’t even get me started on their “listen the first time” rule! I can’t tell you how many times I have sent Hurry-Up over there hoping to get things going. Do you know what he reported? They all pitch in! They have actually been heard to say, “Is there anything I can do to help?”

And worst of all, Too-Tired has no control anymore. He used to be my ‘go to Crabbie’ because what kid wants to go to bed at night or worse yet, take a nap? CrabbieMasters do! They are onto the fact that Too-Tired wants to spoil their fun. They call it Powering-Up!

That’s it for now – maybe we can find some other bunch to annoy!

King Crabbie leaving the scene with staff raised high.

Please, decide to make it a bad day!

 

King

 

 

Here’s a CrabbieMaster Riddle

Get-Along Crabbie is holding the beach ball up high away from Jay and Kay fighting in the background with a skunk in the foreground.

Believe it or not the Get-Along Crabbie and the skunk have something in common!

They both have the power to cross your path and leave a stink you have to deal with.

In my experience, the Get-Along Crabbie is often the culprit when it comes to those days that something happens in the morning and then it’s hard to let go of it for the entire day. And more extreme –  I have even heard of cases where elementary children, after a year of daily conflict, are split up in school so that they won’t be in the same class the next year.

Many times, throughout my education, I’ve heard that there is a ‘magic ratio’ when it comes to relationships. The ratio they are referring to is the number of positive interactions it takes to make up for those inevitable negative interactions. Early on I heard the ratio as, ‘It takes three positive interactions to every negative one to even things out.’ Just now I did a little Google search and found a source that claims the ratio to be five to one in order to maintain positive long last relationships.

About twenty years ago, after hearing that one of my former preschoolers was being bullied in school, I declared that the number one preschool rule was “Be Nice!” That has turned out to be one of the best things I ever did in creating the main tenets for being CrabbieMasters in my preschool. It was amazing how being intentional and how instructing kids on ways to work out problems made a such difference on a daily basis and long term. The simple rule to ‘Be Nice’ often triggered me to find ways to give kids opportunities to be kind to each other in ways that consistently changed our daily dynamics for the positive.

There are still times when a child may be impulsive (most often when they are tired) and may say or do something to another child that is not kind. The big difference is that when the mindset is “Be Nice,” such incidents are more likely to be isolated versus chronic. The child who was mistreated understands that it was a mistake on the part of his or her friend and they are less likely to retaliate because in talking about how to beat Get-Along we have already frequently talked about the best ways to ‘work things out.’

As I said above, teaching kids to beat Get-Along does require intentionality. For more on how (and why J ) to beat Get-Along, check out www.crabbiemasters.com/get-along.

Make it a great day!

Becky 🙂

Use Too-Tired to Beat Too-Tired

Too-Tired truly is the Worst Crabbie in the Universe, but with good tricks to beat him he can be brought under control like any other Crabbie. 🙂

The good news is we can actually use the Too-Tired Crabbie himself to motivate your child to want to sleep!

Too-Tired Crabbie holding brown bear in his left arm.

 

Here’s how it works:

Generally speaking, the way we teach kids to beat the Crabbies is to learn what they like and then do just the opposite. “We know what they like! We just don’t do it!”

Over the years I have figured out how to approach this. Rather than focusing on the need for sleep directly, I focus on one of the consequences of not sleeping.

The key reality for Too-Tired is that he does not like to have fun!

He is simply Too-Tired.

Too-Tired Crabbie with giant hand to mouth closed eyes yawn

As CrabbieMasters Jay and Kay point out in a few excerpts from Here Comes Too-Tired:

Too-Tired Crabbie riding a trike, going on a hike, singing, and not liking it.

 

And as Too-Tired confirms:

Too-Tired Crabbie swimming, lifting weights, playing ball and not liking it.

But kids DO love to have fun!

So, what I focus on is the fact that by not sleeping, napping, resting, or having any quiet time,

Too-Tired doesn’t have any energy and he misses out on all the fun!

If you don’t want to miss out on fun, “Beat Too-Tired!”

 

Our goal in writing the CrabbieMasters Beat the Crabbies series of books is to model real-life experiences where Crabbies sneak into the day and model what CrabbieMasters do to take charge.

In the same way the book is a model for the consequences of Too-Tired, there will be times when your child lives these consequences. You will be getting ready to go to the park and he will have a meltdown because you asked him to put on his shoes by himself or you will be at the beach and she will start screaming because she wanted the blue sand shovel, not the red one! These are times to be the CrabbieMaster leader and point out that the fun is being spoiled by the Too-Tired Crabbie.

I stress that you should only point it out in the moment if you can manage to do it in a non-emotional supportive way. Otherwise, recognize it yourself, get past the situation, and then bring it up after the child has had some sleep. It does not feel good to your child when they lose control. A well-rested child will see the relationship between the meltdown and being tired. Now you will be able to talk about sleep being the way to beat the Too-Tired Crabbie so that he does not spoil the fun. In fact, it was after one of those meltdowns that a five -year old child woke up from the nap she had fought and announced, “Too-Tired is the Worst Crabbie in the Universe!”

 

Make it a great day!

Becky 🙂

Identify the Culprit

The first step in beating the Crabbies is determining which Crabbie or Crabbies are responsible for the problem.

Jay and Kay juggling all eight Crabbies.

Let’s look at a few scenarios:

Scenario 1: Your child is having a meltdown when he or she is learning to tie their shoes, ride a bike, or jump into a swimming pool. They say, “I can’t do it.” Or, “I am scared!” or, “It’s too hard!”

These words are most definitely associated with Can’t-Do.

Can't-Do Crabbie looking up.

 

Scenario 2: A child yells, “Give me that!” and hits a sibling or peer because, “She took my toy!”

This behavior is definitely an indicator of Get-Along.

CrabbieMasters Jay and Kay arguing with Get-Along in foreground

“You have to share! I’m telling!”

 

Scenario 3: You have asked your children to get ready, so they won’t be late for school, but they continue to dawdle.

These are behaviors associated with Hurry-Up.

Mom in car waiting for Jay and Kay walking to car, but slowed down by Hurry-Up sitting in grass by the garage door.

 

Scenario 4: Your children are being generally wild and ignore your pleas to settle down, so they don’t get hurt.

This are behaviors associated with Junk-Food and the King.

Jay jumping on couch with Kay standing in front with arms folded.

 

The truth is that the Crabbies we have called out in each of the scenarios are problems.

However, another truth is that it is highly likely that these Crabbies are not the primary problem.

We break the Crabbies into two groups:

The Primary Crabbies – Too-Tired, Hungry, Junk-Food and Achy

Too-Tired Crabbie cradling little bear in his arm.Hungry Crabbie holding fork and spoon looking dizzy from hunger.

Junk-Food Crabbie holding chocolate donut and strawberry ice cream cone in his pincers.Achy Crabbie with thermometer in his mouth and a hot water bottle on his head.

The Secondary Crabbies – Can’t-Do, Get-Along, Hurry-Up and King

Can't-Do Crabbie with wild eyes and pincers to mouth looking afraid.Get-Along Crabbie with his red boxing gloves on and his tongue sticking out.

Hurry-Up Crabbie wearing inline skates running wild with legs scrambling, pincers up in the air and dust trailing behind.King Crabbie with gold crown looking up and raising his scepter high in the air.

 

The Primary Crabbies are associated with our physical well-being. When any of these Crabbies are on the scene, we are more vulnerable to the other Crabbies. Likewise, if we have the primary Crabbies in check, the secondary Crabbies are much more manageable.

When determining which Crabbie or Crabbies are interfering with the day, mentally run through the list of primary Crabbies and ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the child lacking sleep? Maybe still tired from the weekend even though they were in bed early on Sunday night?
    • Preschoolers (3-6 years) – 12 hours
    • School-age (6-12 years) – 10-11 hours
  • Is the child possibly hungry? (When did they last eat and how much did they eat?)
  • Did the child possibly eat high carbohydrate or sugary food that gave them a burst of energy, but it was not long-lasting like something higher in protein would have been?
  • Is the child possibly getting ill, or are they struggling with seasonal allergies?

If any of the above is an issue, you will need to call out the Primary Crabbie as the main culprit knowing that he brought the Secondary Crabbie along. Sending in more than one Crabbie is one of the King’s favorite tricks – and we CrabbieMasters are onto it!

 

Make it a good day!

Becky 🙂

 

 

 

BREAKING NEWS: Crabbies Busted!
King Crabbie warns his Crabbies that CrabbieMasters know their secret weapon.

What is the Crabbies’ secret weapon? Adults who get stuck on negative and inappropriate behaviors without looking for the underlying causes of those behaviors!

King Crabbie is right! They are busted!

As CrabbieMasters, we can see beyond the behavior and figure out which Crabbies are the ones causing the behaviors.

 

The Hurry-Up Crabbie has mom frustrated with her child.

Frustrated because your child doesn’t hurry-up when you call him or her to get moving?

Think about this possibility. What if last night was a super late night because of a sibling’s activities and then everyone had to get up early anyway to go to school.

 

Maybe the only thing really going on is that the Too-Tired Crabbie is naturally ‘in charge’ until everyone can Power-Up with a good nap or night of sleep.

CrabbieMaster mom flips out and yells at Jay.

Arrgghh!

Do not take this to mean that adult CrabbieMasters ignore the behavior. You can identify the behavior as being a problem – even if we are tired we still need to get ready and go to schoolAND add some reasonable understanding along with a quick talk about how to watch out for this in the future. Wise adult CrabbieMasters recognize this as being a better approach than totally ‘losing it’ given there’s actually a good explanation for the nerve-wracking dawdling.

Make it a good day!

Becky 🙂

Imaginary Fun – Real Results – Behavior Management

In addition to being lots of fun, the CrabbieMasters is a great tool that can be used for behavioral management. First there are a few basic principles:

Keep the mindset of a CrabbieMaster.

  • We don’t think of ourselves as being crabby.
  • The Crabbies are trying to sneak in and mess with our day.
  • We have the power to take charge and “Beat the Crabbies!”

The adult role is to help the child ‘Beat the Crabbies!’

  • Behaviors are indicators that Crabbies are at work.

Recognize that the behaviors are associated with Crabbies, but don’t make the mistake of putting all your focus on the behavior.

  • Negative attitudes and behaviors are indicators that there is a Crabbie trying to mess with the day. Too often we make the mistake of focusing on the behavior and not the real underlying cause of the behavior.

    CrabbieMaster Jay is juggling the Too-Tired Crabbie.

    Bye, bye Too-Tired!

Since Too-Tired is “The Worst Crabbie in the Universe!” let’s use Too-Tired as an example. The reason Too-Tired is the worst is because when we are tired it is harder for us to beat any of the other Crabbies! There are a whole range of behaviors associated with Too-Tired. Off the top of my head:

  • Generally disagreeable
  • Overly reactive
  • Won’t eat breakfast you made
  • Prefers to eat something that is junk
  • Whiny
  • Says, “I Can’t.”
  • Says, “Don’t look at me!” “You are not my boss!”  “Stop It!”
  • Cries.
  • Won’t do what is asked of them.
  • Pushes, hits, bites
  • Falls down.
  • Does not act like they hear you
  • Can’t focus at school: does not recall things that he or she knew yesterday.

I could go on, but I think I made my point.    🙂

 

As adults we have 3 options:

  • We can flip out at the inappropriate behavior.
CrabbieMaster mom flips out and yells at Jay.

Arrgghh!

  • We can excuse the behavior because we know the child ‘is a good kid.’
CrabbieMaster mom pats Jay on the head to console him.

Ohhh… it’s okay.

  • We can acknowledge the behavior, recognize that the child does not feel good when they lose control, and help the child see what Crabbie is at work so that he or she can do what it takes to beat that Crabbie.
CrabbieMasters Jay and Kay stand proudly on the front steps.

We did it!
We Beat the Crabbies!

 

I have done all of the above. The third one is the one that gets results.

 

Make it a good day!

Becky 🙂

Imaginary Fun – Real Results – Positive Outcomes

Children relate to the Crabbies on a fun and playful level. At the same time, adults appreciate knowing that the skills and values children develop make a difference at home, on the playground, in the classroom, and beyond. It’s a good foundation for lifelong skills.

CrabbieMaster Jay juggling all eight Crabbies.

Beating the Crabbies is fun!

 

CrabbieMasters is Imaginary Fun with Real Results

The following list of real results is compiled from what I have seen over the years in my own preschool and through feedback from a variety of professionals who work with children, parents of children I have had in preschool, and former preschoolers who are now adults.

  • Emotional regulation
  • Positive relationships
  • Empowerment and self-care
  • Initiative
  • Self-management
  • Cooperation over power-struggles
  • Self-awareness
  • Positive self-esteem
  • Empathy for self and others
  • Academic success
  • Spirit of cooperation
  • Positive attitude
  • Teamwork

As one former preschool mom put it, the whole CrabbieMasters idea is beneficial for adults and children alike:

When I’m aware of my thoughts and emotions, I have a choice about what to do with them. I’m less reactive, more thoughtful, and more patient with myself. Of course, sometimes the emotions kick in before I have a chance to pay attention, but I nearly always take stock later to figure them out. It takes practice and conscious attention. The Crabbies program is a non-threatening, deceptively simple way to learn self-awareness for adults and children alike.”

A more detailed discussion of these benefits can be found at CrabbieMasters.

CrabbieMasters Jay and Kay and their friends celebrate.

We’ve got the Crabbies on the run!

 

Make it a good day!

Becky 🙂

Imaginary Fun – Real Results – Positive Relationships

Unless I am talking to someone in the world of social work or psychology, the most common initial reaction to the Crabbies and CrabbieMasters concept is, “Oh, that is so cute!”

Believe me when I say that being fun and cute was really all I was going for the first day I went to the door and pretended to be ‘blowing out my Crabbies.’

It had been one of those mornings where things were just off. I was trying my level best to get the attention of my preschool group during circle time. I was getting more and more frustrated because they were goofing around and not listening to me. I just happened to take a deep breath. Wow! I felt better. That’s when I just got up and went to the door and started blowing. I turned around and said, “I think I just blew out my Crabbies.” Spontaneously, the kids all got up, ran over, and gave me a big group hug.

CrabbieMaster mom opens the front door and blows out her Crabbies.

Wow! I just blew out my Crabbies!

Simply talking about the concept of beating the Crabbies each day changed the dynamic. I was able to get everyone’s attention and the impact this had on my ability to teach was quite dramatic. Little by little we built on the concept. Over time we named the Crabbies and figured out ways to beat them. We became CrabbieMasters!

I knew I had hit on something that worked for me in my setting. It was roughly ten years before I knew why it worked. One of our daughters was working on her PhD at the University of Minnesota studying counseling psychology. She was taking a course and learned about what is called the ‘narrative approach’. This approach uses ‘externalization’ where the principle is that the problem is the problem, the person is not the problem.

If you are interested in more details on the psychology behind CrabbieMasters, Jenna created a few videos that describe Why It Works.

The bottom line is that, out of what I consider dumb luck, I just happened to have hit on a means to address issues in a fun and effective way that stays away from blaming and shaming. This causes children (and adults) to not get defensive, while still taking on the responsibility to do what is needed to beat the Crabbies. The result is that we are all on the same team, working together to make each day a good day. These daily positive interactions between the children and me, and the children and each other, adds up to positive relationships!

Furthermore, because it is grounded in something research has proven to be an effective approach in general, CrabbieMasters is not something that only works for me in my setting. This is the reason I have such a passion in sharing it with others.

 

CrabbieMaster Jay sits on the couch with mom and dad smiling.

Crabby Crackdown: children and adults bond when they work together to Beat the Crabbies.

 

Make it a good day!

Becky 🙂