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.
The adult role is to help the child ‘Beat the Crabbies!’
Recognize that the behaviors are associated with Crabbies, but don’t make the mistake of putting all your focus on the behavior.
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:
I could go on, but I think I made my point. 🙂
As adults we have 3 options:
I have done all of the above. The third one is the one that gets results.
Make it a good day!
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.
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.
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.
Make it a good day!
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.
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.
Make it a good day!
Hi! Kay here!
I was once a student in Miss Becky’s preschool. That’s where I learned to beat the Crabbies.
Miss Becky makes beating the Crabbies lots of fun. There are so many former students who wish they could be back in her class, even if only for one day.
Miss Becky is the creator of the Crabbies, and she’s the author of all the books about them. My brother Jay and I are going to convince Miss Becky to make a short video explaining how the Crabbies were created. Won’t that be fun to learn!
I’ll give you a hint… there might be something about a group hug!
Today, all us CrabbieMasters had a big group hug! We called it Group Hug Day and we think every day should be Group Hug Day.
Whenever you have a hug day, we hope it’s a happy one!
Jay and Kay love to read and since tomorrow is Veterans Day, they are sharing some of their favorite books about this very special day.
Veterans Day, by Mir Tamim Ansary
What happens on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of the year? This book will dive into the chronicle of Veterans Day with great detail. Perfect for little history buffs and parents who may need a refresher when your kids start asking you questions. Together you will find greater understanding of this important public holiday and why this day might just have special meaning for you and your family.
Rags: Hero Dog of WWII, by Margot Theis Raven, illustrated by Petra Brown
Not all veterans of war are human, and this true story shows us how canines have been used as soldiers of war since World War I. Found on the streets of Paris by Private James Donovan, Rags was brought back to base and put to work. He learned to help clear trenches, deliver messages, and even salute! The muted illustrations show the dark time of war, but spare the reader from grim details. Dog lovers will enjoy learning about this furry war veteran and the capacity of one dog to be loyal to a country, as well as to the solder who took him in.
H is for Honor, by Devin Scillian, illustrated by Victor Juhasz
This alphabet picture book delves into everything military—from history, to the meaning of ranks and divisions, to what it is like to be a military child. Navy SEALS, Green Berets, and Army Rangers are written about in more detail, and pictures reveal what life on base is really like. Together, you and your child will discover the meaning of patriotism and have an opportunity to discuss courage and commitment. After this book, your little one may be interested in sending off a care package to a soldier overseas.
The Poppy Lady, by Barbara Walsh, illustrated by Layne Johnson
Based on a true story, this picture book follows Moina Belle Michael, a schoolteacher from Georgia who was determined to find a way to honor and remember soldiers. Moina set out to make the poppy a symbol of remembrance; her determination paid off and today, the poppy is a familiar symbol of Veterans Day. With detailed drawings and information on the period surrounding world War I, this book is a powerful way to share with your child what it means to serve your country. Once you have read this book together, your little one will be spotting red poppies everywhere you go.
Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between a Soldier and His Service Dog, by Luis Carlos Montalvan and Bret Witter, photographs by Dan Dion
When a service member returns home from war, they sometimes suffer from injuries to their body, their mind, and their spirit. This story is about a service dog by the name of Tuesday who helps a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Based on a true story and told through the eyes of Tuesday, this picture book helps children understand the true day to day life of a returning veteran. The adorable pictures of Tuesday will be sure to please your child, while also providing an example of how service dogs can help veterans.
These are Jay and Kay’s favorites. Do you have a favorite?
We here at Team CrabbieMasters pay honor and respect to those who served and those who now serve in our military.
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
Poor Kay. Her day didn’t start too well.
Her dad asked her to do a hard chore. He didn’t think it was hard, but Kay did. He had asked her to move some boxes from her mom’s sewing room to the garage.
The first three were easy. They were light and not too large. Then… a big one stared at her.
I can’t move this by myself, she thought. I wish Jay would hurry home.
But Jay wasn’t coming. He had spent the night at his friend’s house.
Kay huffed and puffed and took a deep breath. She tried lifting the box.
Not even a budge.
Nope. She couldn’t move it even one little inch.
She leaned over and tried once more to lift the box.
“Ha, ha, ha!”
“Who’s laughing?” She asked, standing and looking around.
Suddenly, something jumped on top of the box.
“It’s me! Can’t-Do!”
“Oh, I should have known you were around somewhere.”
“What’s the matter, Kay? Did I ruin your day?”
“I guess you did. I can’t lift this box and my dad asked me to take it to the garage.”
“Ha, ha, ha!” Can’t-Do laughed and laughed.
“What’s so funny?” a voice called out. “Do you need help, Kay?”
“Jay! You’re back. Yes, I could use some help. Can’t-Do here is trying to ruin my day.”
“Can’t-Do, take a hike. Kay and I got this!”
And so, Jay and Kay moved the box to the garage and Can’t-Do ran away pouting.
You see, friends, it’s okay to ask for help when you can’t do something on your own!
Sometimes the Crabbies like publicity–good or bad. After all, they’re Crabbies.
CrabbieMaster Kay was a bit surprised to hear King promoting our Instagram page. Here’s the link:
And here’s what King said:
“You know how we love to get our picture on the Internet for the WORLD to see?! Well, CrabbieMasters has us on Instagram! As a King, I photograph quite well, and so do all of you. 🙂
“Of course, you know how the CrabbieMasters are… always telling everyone to watch out for us so we don’t ruin their day.
“Oh, how much fun we can have parading all over Instagram! The more CrabbieMasters put us there, the more fans we’ll have, and the more fans we have the more days we can ruin. We’re celebrities!
“Hip… hip… hooray!”
“Ha!” said Kay, smiling.
When she got wind of King’s silly speech she let him and the rest of the Crabbies know that they can admire their Instagram pictures all they want, but they won’t be tricking anyone.
“King, get real! We show everyone how to BEAT you and make sure you DON’T ruin the day. We use Instagram to show everyone how to make you GO AWAY!
“So, enjoy your pictures because we know they help everyone recognize you when they see you! Sorry, King. You’re off your game today. Instagram helps us, not you! Now everyone will know who to be on the lookout for – YOU!”
We are excited to have some outdoor playtime and share some good habits with our friends… like eating right and getting along and helping someone to try to do something they think they can’t do.
We are well prepared to keep the Crabbies away. But look…
They are in a meeting, plotting and scheming. We know what they’re doing.
Listen… we can hear them…
King: It’s the weekend, do you know what that means?
Crabbies all together: Yes!
King: It means it’s time to ruin the day. Saturday and Sunday. Ruin, ruin, ruin!
Junk-Food: This is too easy. I will shower kids everywhere with candy and gooey treat and tasty sweets.
Achy: I’ll be working with Junk-Food to make sure tummy aches are EVERYWHERE!
King: Good, good. And, Hungry, what will you do?
Hungry: Why, I’ll make sure all the kids are too busy playing to stop to eat. And when they do finally eat, I’ll make sure they pick, pick, pick.
King: Excellent. How about you, Get-Along?
Get-Along: Ohhh, I know just what to do to get kids to not share and maybe even make fun of one another’s hair.
King: Perfect. Keep those kids feeling crabby. They won’t get along at all.
Cant-Do: I have a plan! I will make sure when kids try something new, they fail. A second time they won’t try, and they’ll cry and cry.
King: Genius! And Hurry-Up–
Kay: STOP RIGHT THERE! You will NOT be going anywhere.
Jay: That’s right. If you want to do something fun over the weekend, go to the beach and visit your relatives.
King: Hmmm. We’ll see about that.
Kay: There’s nothing to see, King. Go play in the sand! Go play in the ocean! We know what you like and we won’t do it! We know what you don’t like, and we get right to it!
Jay: Look, Kay! They’re running away!
Kay: See you later–NOT, Crabbies.
And so, Jay and Kay and CrabbieMasters around the world set out to enjoy their weekend. And we hope you do too!
Boy, it sure was a busy weekend with lots of things to do and then yesterday was Mother’s Day. For some of us that means Monday morning can be hectic.
When things get hectic, Hurry-Up gets happy. He loves it when kids are tired and cranky and make mom or dad late. He loves when kids are late for school. In fact, he loves anything late.
Hurry-Up sometimes depends on his pal Too-Tired to ruin the day. Getting a good night’s sleep can help keep Hurry-Up away because sometimes we oversleep and that makes us have to rush, rush, rush and that can make us late, late, late.
We here at CrabbieMasters headquarters hope that wherever you venture today, you’re on time!