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 🙂


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 🙂

Game on!

This is an exciting day! You see, the CrabbieMasters are challenging the Crabbies to a baseball game.

This all came about when the CrabbieMasters were trying to play ball in the park one day not long ago. King, Too-Tired and Hungry showed up… trying their hardest to ruin the game. Too-Tired tried to tire out the pitcher and Hungry was busy making sure no one stopped playing long enough to break for lunch.

Finally, Jay made an offer.

“Hey, King. Why don’t you get your Crabbies together and we’ll challenge you to a game of baseball.”

“You got it! Just say when,” King said.

“One week from today. Meet here at noon.”

And so the game was on…

“Strike one! Strike two! Strike three! You’re out!” The umpire called out as Kay returned to the dugout.

“Don’t worry, Kay,” Jay said. “We have two more chances.”

“It’s… it’s… it’s out of the field!”

Home run for Jay!

With a score of 1-0 at the bottom of the first, Hurry-Up took to the plate.

It’s a hit! And he’s off… first… second… third… and he’s home! He’s pretty fast in those inline skates. The score is now 1-1.

The game went on with one team scoring one point and the other team scoring one point.

Then came the tie-breaker…

Kay was at the plate. Can’t-Do was pitching. “Na, na, na, na!” Can’t-Do chanted at Kay. “You can’t do it. You can’t hit the ball. Come on, Kay, let’s see a strike.”

“Strike one!” the umpire called.





Oh no. This was it. Full count. Bases loaded. Can’t-Do taunting and teasing.

“Don’t pay attention to Can’t-Do,” Jay  yelled. “Just focus on the ball. Keep your eye on the ball.”

Kay did as Jay said, and she watched as the ball came toward her. She swung! She hit! Boy, did she hit! Over the fence and into Mrs. Wilder’s flower bed.

“Homerun!” the umpire shouted. The game was over. CrabbieMasters won! Kay was carried off the field by her teammates and the Crabbies crawled away.

Mrs. Wilder came over and handed Kay the game ball. “Great game, kids! Be sure to stop over when you leave and I’ll give you some nice peaches to take home.”

Team CrabbieMasters had a great day. They won the game and they got to pick some yummy peaches from Mrs. Wilder’s tree.

And that made everyone very happy!

Too-Tired takes control!

Hi all! It’s me, Too-Tired. I’ll be doing the writing today. You see, Miss Becky is out on a lake somewhere, in a canoe, enjoying the sun and having a good time. But… she forgot to close her computer, so here I am! Tee hee! Miss Becky, you’ve been hacked!

So… this is what I want you all to know. I am NOT the worst Crabbie in the universe. Nope. Not me. I love making you all tired and crabby, but that doesn’t make me the worst Crabbie. Nope. Not me.

I am going to make Miss Becky tired. Sun and fun can really tire out humans, but not me. We crabs live in sand and water. We love the sun and we love fun. It’s an easy day for me. I have the sun and fun to help me. Tee hee!

Uh oh! Here comes CrabbieMasters Jay and Kay. I’ll hide until they go away.

Hello friends! Jay here. CrabbieMaster Jay

Pay no attention to Too-Tired. He thinks he’s not the worst Crabbie in the universe, but he is! And… he should not be touching anyone’s computer without permission. He may think he outsmarted Miss Becky, but he didn’t. She’s coming in the door right now, and she’s not tired at all. She’s carrying a big, heavy bag and she’s singing a song. That’s right, Too-Tired. Time for you to leave.

Hi there! Kay here. CrabbieMaster Kay

Pay no attention to silly Too-Tired. He thinks he’s clever, but he’s not. Oh look! Miss Becky is shooing him away. She told him not to come back today or any day!

He’s running out the door with his claws between his legs. Poor Too-Tired, NOT.


Too-Tired is too tired for FUN!

Every now and then, we CrabbieMasters like to mess with the Crabbies like they try to mess with us.

Listen in as a bunch of CrabbieMaster campers take on Too-Tired:

We are CrabbieMasters!

We DO like fun, and, we are wise enough to Power-Up so that we are NOT too tired for fun!

Don’t try this at home

Easter is coming and that means CANDY! Yes, candy. Candy, candy, candy.

Don’t do what Jay and Kay did. When the Easter Bunny came last year, he left them each a big chocolate egg. Instead of listening to their mom and dad, they ate the whole thing in one day! That’s right! Mom and Dad said eat a little bit today, and save some for tomorrow and the next day.

But, no… guess who got the better of Jay and Kay? You guessed it! Achy! Achy Crabbie, crabby, sick, illness, fever

Of course, once Achy arrived, he called in… you guessed it! Too-Tired, the worst Crabbie in the whole wide world and the universe too.

Too-Tired Crabbie, crabby, tired, sleepy

Jay and Kay were sick and that made them tired. Achy and Too-Tired were so happy. They love Easter, so be on the lookout for them so they don’t ruin your day.

On holidays, if Hungry or Achy or Too-Tired or Get-Along or Junk-Food or King or Can’t-Do or Hurry-Up show up, it’s not unusual for the entire Crabbie crew to be sneaking around.

No way will Jay and Kay let that happen again. This Easter, they will listen to the adults and won’t eat all their candy in one day!

Just remember–You can be a CrabbieMaster and beat the Crabbies too!


Happy Monday!

The CrabbieMaster are happy that it’s Monday. Why are they so happy to celebrate the beginning of a new week when usually people feel blah after the nice weekend?

Because Monday brings us one day closer to spring!

“Winter is fun,” said CrabbieMaster Kay. “But sometimes the weather is stormy or too cold to play outside. I like to play outside in the fresh air.”

“I like playing in the fresh air too,” said CrabbieMaster Jay. “Fresh air helps to keep the Crabbies away.”

“That’s right, Jay,” said Kay. “Fresh air and lots of exercise help keep the Crabbies aways, especially Too-Tired, the worst Crabbie in the universe.

“Hey, did I hear someone call my name?” Too-Tired Crabbie, crabby, tired, sleepy

“Oh, Too-Tired, we were just talking about you,” Jay said. “We weren’t calling for you. Kay was just telling me how fresh air and lots of exercise are a good way to keep you away.”

“But… I don’t like it when you get fresh air, and I don’t like it when you exercise.”

“That’s too bad!” said Kay. “We know how to keep you away. We know how to keep you out of our day!”

“That’s right,” Jay agreed. “Even though it’s winter, we still get fresh air and exercise. We know it’s good for us, and you know it’s good for us, and we can’t wait for spring when we can get even MORE fresh air and exercise.”

“Fresh air. Exercise. No, no, no. I don’t like that one bit,” Too-Tired squealed.

“Too bad, Too-Tired,” Jay and Kay said together. Jay waved his cape at Too-Tired. “You can go now. Kay and I are going for a walk and we’re going to enjoy the fresh air that will help us stay healthy and help us get a good night’s sleep.”

We hope you’re looking forward to spring and more outdoor fun too!


Too-Tired is put on notice

It’s not a good day for Too-Tired. He’s not happy because he’s been put “On Notice.” That means the CrabbieMasters are taking charge and not letting Too-Tired, or any Crabbie, ruin the day.

Each day at Becky’s preschool, she and her students have a morning meeting that includes a quick talk about which Crabbies might try to cause trouble in the day. They use a Magnet Board to show which Crabbies could be the day’s stinkers. Those Crabbies are put “On Notice.”

Too-Tired is almost always put on notice. If even one person in the group didn’t have quite enough sleep, Too-Tired might sneak right in and try to ruin the day.

We here at Team CrabbieMasters watched as Miss Becky put Too-Tired on notice. He rolled his eyes as if it was his first time.

Too-Tired Crabbie, crabby, tired, sleepy

Then, we heard him tell Get-Along, “You’re next. You’re going to be put on notice because the class is going to do a play and not everyone will get the part they want.”

“No! Not me!” cried Get-Along. “I don’t want to be put on notice. I don’t want anyone watching for me. I love the element of surprise!”

Too-Tired shook his head. “Well, so do I, but Miss Becky’s students keep voting to put me on notice. It’s hard to sneak up on any of them when they do that.”

“We need a plan,” said Get-Along.Get-Along Crabbie, crabby, bully

“We should talk to King,” Too-Tired said. “He will know what to do.”

Get-Along let out a big sigh. “We need to do something and fast! This magnet board is making it hard to be sneaky and those CrabbieMasters keep Powering-Up, so we can’t get anything done.”

“I know,” said Too-Tired. “We need to get King and have a group meeting. We need a solid plan to beat the CrabbieMasters. We’ll show Miss Becky! That magnet board won’t do her any good anymore!”

Oh no! What do you think will happen? Do you think the Crabbies can outsmart the CrabbieMasters?

We at Team CrabbieMaster will be watching!

When Too-Tired moves in…

How do you know when Too-Tired moves in?

In my last post I talked about how all the Crabbies take advantage of us when we are tired. It’s tough for all of us when we get tired, but for young kids, it’s even harder.

There are a number of recognizable signs that someone is tired:

  • Cry easily
  • Gloomy (not particularly enthused about anything)
  • Lack of energy or coordination (really common for tired kids to fall down on the playground)
  • Inability to focus (hard time following simple instructions)
  • Impulsive (quickly react to situations; including hitting friends or throwing things)
  • Whiny and mumbling (you can’t figure out what they are saying)
  • ‘Wild’ (a consequence of the inability to focus)

For years, there was no real research on how much sleep is needed. In working with preschoolers, I noticed that if kids had less than 11 hours it was going to be an issue, if not the first day, later in the week. If they had 12 hours, they were going to be remarkably cooperative and reasonable. Now research is out, and the below chart states the optimal number of hours for various age groups.

Average number of hours of sleep needed per day, including nighttime sleep and naps:

Infant (0-12 months) – 14-18 hours
Toddler (13-36 months) – 13 hours
Preschooler (3-6 years) – 12 hours
School-age (6-12 years) – 10-11 hours
Adolescent (13-19 years) – 9.25 hours
Adult (20+ years) – 8.25 hours

With the holidays close by, and the excitement of Santa’s arrival, it can cause insomnia and that means Too-Tired is not far behind. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep every night and send a message to Too-Tired that he’s not welcome in your day today or any day!

Image Courtesy of Flickr/Jan Tik

The Worst Crabbie in the Universe

Which Crabbie is the worst Crabbie in the universe?


When we are tired we not only increase our vulnerability to Too-Tired, but to all the Crabbies. This is why we call Too-Tired the Worst Crabbie in the universe!

It goes something like this when you didn’t get enough sleep the night before:

It is hard to get going in the morning (Too-Tired got ya!)

You don’t have time or energy to eat a good breakfast (Hungry shows up)

You may grab something that does appeal to you, usually a sugary something (In sneaks Junk-Food)

You may find yourself feeling lightheaded or low on energy by mid-morning because of the sugar crash and not having eaten healthy (Achy moves in)

Low energy makes everything feel like an effort. It can be something you have done a 100 times or something that’s a new challenge (Can’t-Do comes around)

And anyone you need to interact with during this state you found yourself in is likely to be so annoying you can hardly believe they just said what they did or expected what they expected. (Get-Along strolls along)

Oh, man, look at the clock! Now we are late! (Here comes Hurry-Up)

Wow, I can’t believe this day!!!  (one happy King)

And that’s why Too-Tired has earned the title of worst Crabbie in the universe!