The Color Monster: How One Book Changed the Way We Look at Feelings

Have you ever read the book The Color Monster by Anna Llenas? (referral link) It is beautiful. The illustrations are amazing and conveys each feeling perfectly with its pop-up pages. I found it randomly at Barnes and Noble a while back and I just couldn’t resist it. I rarely ever buy books. I am a library girl through and through, but something was different about this one.

Over the years we have turned this book into an entire lifestyle. Colors help us name our emotions when we are too upset for words. Colors help us organize our thoughts and feelings. Colors help us make sense of what we are feeling. There is a program called The Zones of Regulation that is incredibly similar to this idea, however The Color Monster just works for us as a family and I had already started a good system with this book before I heard about The Zones of Regulation. The book is just so reinforcing while keeping these difficult concepts simple.

At first I wasn’t sure what the book was intending to do by talking about needing to put feelings into their own jars so the monster didn’t feel so mixed up. Now, though, it makes total sense and has helped us tremendously. When my 3 year old is crying he says “Mom, I am so sad, my blue is in my yellow jar.” Then get this…we go over strategies to help with that by having his goal to be getting the sadness back in the blue jar and the yellow filled again with happy thoughts.  No feeling is wrong, they just belong in their own jar.

We organize our feelings into their own jar by first talking about what is making them “blue” or sad, then by thinking of a solution if there is one (which often there isn’t) and finally by thinking about things that make us “yellow” or happy. We may need to think of one thing that makes him happy or 10, but by the end is is laughing and playing and saying his yellow jar pushed all the blue out and is filled up with yellow again and the blue is back where it belongs in its own jar.

If my youngest is crying uncontrollably and just can’t tell me how he feels I will often say “what color are you?”. It is such an easy way for him to just tell me RED! instead of trying to tell me what is going on when he is so upset. Once he says that simple word we can get busy addressing those feelings and teaching healthy ways to deal with them.

They label their fear as “black” and in order to get the “black” out of their “yellow” or happy jar they talk about what is making them afraid and what could help them feel less afraid of it. Sometimes just understanding the thing that makes them afraid helps so much. Then they like to think about things that make them feel “green” and calm, or things that make them feel “yellow” and happy so that each jar is filled up again with its right color. This books makes it so easy for them to understand that its ok to feel every color. That it is totally normal, everyone feels them. It also teaches them important tools on how to address those feelings in a healthy and effective way.

Bottom line… Get this book! <referral link<< You will not regret it.

September 2017-The Homeschooling SLP