Activity Name: When I get MAD
Time Required: at least 10 minutes
Ages: 5 and up
Introduction: The Battery is all about learning how to take negative emotions (and positive emotions) and convert them into fuel for resilience. This activity will take the negative emotion of anger and help your child think about productive things to do with this emotion.
What you need:
• 1 piece of paper and writing utensil per child
Give a piece of paper and writing utensil to each child. Tell your children that they get to think about all the things that make them really mad and list them on a piece of paper. If you have children who are too young to make a list, encourage them to draw a picture of some of the things that make them mad.
You might play an upbeat song to set the tone while your children work on their lists. After a few minutes, turn off the music. Have your children look over their lists and circle the thing that makes them the angriest. Talk about this thing – when it happens or has happened in the past, how did they respond?
Was the outcome productive or destructive? (You might explain that a productive outcome is one that doesn’t hurt them or others and could lead to something good, and a destructive outcome can hurt someone and might make things worse.)
Now, have your child think about some responses that could create a productive outcome next time the thing happens that makes your child mad. If your child responded in a positive way in the past, talk about why that response led to a productive outcome. Share your ideas with each other.
Here is one example:
Russ circles “getting bullied at school” as the event that causes him the most anger. The last time it happened, Russ’s response was to hit the bully back. The outcome was a fight and a trip to the principal’s office. When you ask, “Is this a productive or a destructive outcome?” have Russ think about whether the response he chose hurt himself and others or not. Now it’s time for Russ to brainstorm some responses that would create productive outcomes – there is no wrong answer here, but productive outcomes are most likely to happen when no one gets hurt. Russ might list “Just walk away,” “Tell a teacher,” or “Ask a friend for help.”
Have Russ share his ideas or brainstorm ideas together.
• Could an activity like this be helpful for dealing with other emotions in a good way? Can emotions like sadness, frustration, and disappointment be dealt with this way?