How One Child Learned To Manage His Emotions By Watching His Sister

emotional intelligence  member highlight  mindfulness  positive parenting 

By Ashley Patek

In watching his 7-year-old sister Alivia recognize and manage her emotions, my 3.5-year-old son Derek learned how to identify and share his.

She modeled and he followed.

I knew the Time-In ToolKit was making a difference in our home, but I had no idea just how much all of this was sinking in for our youngest son until he shocked us all one-morning last week.

Two kids in nature

I initially got the Time-In-Toolkit for my daughter Alivia, who has both Spinal Muscular Atrophy and the inattentive type of ADHD. As a result of this, she has difficulty regulating her frequent “big emotions.”

Alivia quickly fell in love with her Calming Corner and the ToolKit tools. She even talked me into using the money her grandparents gave her to buy all seven SnuggleBuddies.

I repeat ALL SEVEN SNUGGLEBUDDIES. Who am I to stifle her passion? ;)

Calming Corner with Snugglebuddies Plush Toys

I noticed our 3.5-year-old son watching our daughter while she used her Calming Corner, so, about a month ago, we gave him his own Calming Corner space.

Then one morning last week, out of nowhere, Derek woke up and squeezed Alivia’s arm as hard as he could. Basically, he was terrorizing his sister.

I asked him to be kind to his sister.

What came next, I wasn’t quite prepared for.

Derek ran into the living room shouting,

"I have an unmet need!  I have an unmet need! Want to know what it is?" 

Jaw to the floor.

I was stunned and said, "What are you saying?" 

He said, "I need attention. I need attention from you."

He is three.

mom and son connecting in Calming Corner using Snugglebuddies Plush Toy

The fact that this little guy had this sort of language (clearly he was listening when I'd taught his big sister about unmet needs lol) was just dumbfounding to me. 

I was running late, and the idea of taking time out of the morning routine to do a full session in his Calming Corner was not an option. 

But Suzanne's words from the Time-In ToolKit's Manual came back to me, and I realized it would be faster to give him some one-on-one attention now than to micromanage a pint-sized dictator the rest of the morning!

So I had a moment of genius and made time to connect, but in a way that wouldn't make us late. I invited him to brush his teeth with me in the bathroom - just the two of us. 

I'm sure you can guess the rest of the story, which is that we both felt more calm, loving and happy afterward. He apologized to his sister and meant it, plus, I made it to work on time. And, bonus, I felt like mom of the year, all thanks to Generation Mindful.

Thank you for these tools. They are making a real difference for our family. 

*** This article was sent in by a Generation Mindful mom member. Do you have a story to share? Visit here to submit an article to our editor for consideration.


Generation Mindful creates tools, toys, and programs that nurture emotional intelligence through play and positive discipline. Join us and receive joy in your inbox each week.

Time-in Toolkit in action


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