This is an engaging and entertaining cognitive-behavioral teaching strategy on the topic of emotional regulation.
Here is how to do it:
Here is how to present the activity to your client/student, small group, or class:
“When people are worried, or sad, or disappointed, or mad, they can help themselves to feel better. They do this by thinking certain things, doing certain things, and saying certain things. Here is a game where you get to be the one to help an upset person to calm down.
If you give me good, helpful advice on what to think, do and say, then I will hold the picture of the upset person lower and lower. If you give me advice that makes my problem worse, or doesn’t help at all, I will raise the picture higher and higher.
If the picture ends up this high [way above your head], then you have lost the game.
- Young person who is upset because children on the playground suddenly decide to change the kickball rules to allow five bases instead of three
- Young person who is upset because a substitute teacher is not following the normal routine and is not listening to the young person’s advice
- Young person is upset because the bakery delivered a defective cake to his birthday party—a Pikachu cake that is blue instead of yellow. (Or, pick a local sports team’s colors and the bakery messes up the colors )
- Young person is sad and hopeless because, although he is doing his best to fit in and socialize with peers, he has been unsuccessful
- Young person who is on the bus on the way to the first day of a summer day camp, feeling apprehensive about new activities and the prospect of social failure
Joel Shaul, LCSW
This is part of a series of blogs on games and activities to help kids with Asperger’s and other autism spectrum disorders to cope with upset feelings. To go to the first in the series, click HERE.