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Crabbies

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 🙂

 

 

 

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 🙂

YAY! December is here!

Hi everyone!

Kay here. Are you as excited about December as I am?

I love December. Where I live, it means snow! Lot’s of snow for sledding and for making a snowman.

My brother Jay and I love playing in the snow. We also love the snow because… well… the Crabbies can’t get around as easily. They slip and slide and PLOP!  They’re flat on their stomachs!

Last December, King got this silly idea to make a snowman and he had Too-Tired, Achy and Can’t-Do help. How funny is that?

Of course, Too-Tired was too tired to do anything and Achy was too sick to help. Can’t-Do didn’t even want to try. King called to Hurry-Up to help, but he learned fast that he was wearing the wrong kind of skates!

Finally, King built a snowman all by himself. Miss Becky snapped a picture when he finished.

When Miss Becky takes the CrabbieMasters out to build a snowman, we will be sure she takes a picture. We think… no, we know… we can do better than King!

Happy December, everyone!

 

Happy November!

We love November!

Do you know why?

Thanksgiving! That’s why!

Our mouths are already watering for turkey. We’ll have a big feast with all kinds of good things to eat.

We’ll have turkey and gravy and potatoes and carrots and sweet potatoes and pie! We’ll have corn and squash and stuffing and cranberries. But what we like best about Thanksgiving is all the healthy food we get to eat.

 

We don’t have to worry about the Crabbies coming around. They are busy hiding. We aren’t sure why they hide, but we like that they do. Maybe they don’t want to become dinner!

We like November too because the 11th is Veterans Day. For 98 years, Americans have remembered those who served our country in uniform on 11 November – first as Armistice Day, and then, since 1954 as Veterans Day. In this 99th year of commemoration, the Department of Veterans Affairs is broadening that tradition of observance and appreciation to include both Veterans and Military Families for the entire month of November.

We like that!

What fun things do you like to do in November? Do you live where the leaves change into pretty colors? Do you like to pick chestnuts and acorns? Do you like the smell of the rain?

We hope you like November as much as we do!

Until next time… remember to POWER-UP whenever you see those Crabbies sneaking around,

Jay and Kay

 

The Crabbies are back!

The Crabbies have returned from their vacation. They are late getting back because Get-Along couldn’t get along with the other when it came to how to get home–he didn’t want to take the train, or a bus, so he made a fuss.

King finally convinced Get-Along to get on a bus and they took a brief stop-over at Virginia Beach. They saw so many of their relatives! They were so happy to spend time with them and romp in the sand and play in the water. They were so busy they forgot to ruin anyone’s day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

No worries! It didn’t take them long to get right back to it as soon as they returned.

It all started with a group meeting. King was determined to ruin Jay and Kay’s day. After all, they had a vacation too with no Crabbies around.

King instructed Too-Tired to make a lot of noise to wake Jay and Kay really early–like four o’clock in the morning early. They’d be too tired to get ready for school and they’d miss the bus. Teehee! Hurry-Up sure loved riding the bus home. Maybe he’ll hop on the school bus and sit in Jay and Kay’s seat!

Poor Jay and Kay would fall asleep at their school desks. The Crabbies cheered and cheered! They loved the plan.

But wait…

After waking Jay and Kay, Too-Tired taunted and teased Kay as she sat in her front yard yawning. Then…

“Kay, what are you doing up so early?” Mrs. Gray called out from the doorway. “Come inside and go back to sleep. There’s no school today! It’s Saturday!”

And so… the joke is on the Crabbies. Jay and Kay slept in and the Crabbies… well, they took a nice long nap.

 

On the road again…

                                                                           The Crabbies continue on their vacation and today they visited Moosehead Lake, Maine.

 

They decided to go moose watching. Achy and Too-Tired were very excited to see a real moose. Can’t-Do and Get-Along were kind of scared because of the size of a moose, and Hurry-Up was in no hurry to go moose watching.

Their moose-watching guide told them some fun facts about moose:

• The flap of skin under the moose’s throat is called a BELL.

• Moose have no top front teeth.

• After the first calf, moose quite often have twins.

• Moose can only see about 25 feet.

• In the Moosehead Lake Region, moose out number people 3 to 1.

• The first law to protect Moose was passed in 1930.

• Only male moose grow antlers, which they shed in early winter and re-grow during the year. The main function of antlers is for display during the mating season (source: mooseheadlake.org).

The guide took the Crabbies to moose “hangouts.” It wasn’t long before one came along.

“Would you look at that!” said Hungry. “He’s HUGE!”

“Oh, wow, wow, wow,” said King. “He looks even more powerful than me.”

“I can’t look,” said Can’t-Do. “He could crush me.”

The guide assured the Crabbies that they weren’t going to get close enough to get crushed. That made everyone feel better.

They watched moose come and go, and decided it was a nice vacation spot. They will be spending the weekend, and King wanted to be sure Miss Becky got a postcard from Maine. Have a great weekend to all of you from the traveling Crabbies! See you when we get back Monday!

You’re so silly, King

“I’m a weekend warrior!” King exclaimed.

“Ha, ha, King! You are no such thing,” Kay said.

“Wanna bet?”

“Come on, King. You’re a crab. You are far from a warrior.”

“I am more than a crab. I am a WEEKEND WARRIOR!”

Kay let out a loud sigh. “What makes you think that, King? You need to explain this to me.”

CrabbieMaster Kay

“Well, all my Crabbies are out ruining the day for people all across the country! From the east coast to the west coast.”

“Um, King. Jay just chased Too-Tired away, so I don’t think he’s out ruining anyone’s day, especially across the country!”

“Nonsense, Kay. Too-Tired has a lot of legs. He can make time.”

“No way! Look down there!” Kay said, pointing to a tree a few yards away.

“He’ll get going. You’ll see. We are WEEKEND WARRIORS!”

“King, look again. He’s leaning against the tree and he’s sleeping.”

“Well, um… well, um… you know, Kay. I really should get a move on. I have to be in Oregon soon.”

Kay laughed. “Okay, King. If you say so, you big ole weekend warrior.”

And with that, King strolled away. He went over to Too-Tired and let out a scream. “Wake up, Too-Tired. We have work to do!”

Too-Tired jumped up and yawned.

“You two are some weekend warriors,” Kay called out. “You can go anywhere you want. You’ll always find CrabbieMasters! And you don’t even know what it means to be a weekend warrior. You silly Crabbie. You don’t try to ruin the day only on the weekends!”

“Whatever, Kay,” King yelled, and he and Too-Tired walked away… slowly.

We think it’s going to take them a long time to get to Oregon!

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.

“Ball.”

“Strike.”

“Ball.”

“Ball.”

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!