"There are many adults out there who suffer from stress, anxiety and depression because they find it difficult to express how they really feel and what they really need."
Following many years of producing internationally acclaimed card based therapeutic resources, including Strength Cards and Strength Cards for Kids, for other publishers, John established Qcards in 2009. He says the aim of Qcards is to provide publications for improving emotional and social well-being that are high quality, fun to use and affordable for families. The Bear Cards certainly ticks all the boxes.
The 48 large, colourful cards feature cute teddy style bears, each showing a different emotion – shy, grumpy, amused, angry, hurt, disgusted and so on – all minus words.
John says children are much more open to learning in a relaxed and fun atmosphere, and the cards offer that opportunity.
“We don’t tend to teach these skills in a formal manner and daily life certainly gives us ample opportunities to respond emotionally to a full range of experiences”
“However, this type of learning has its drawbacks. Children experiencing strong feelings such as anger or acute loss are usually not in an ideal ‘learning mode’.
The games and activities in the booklet enclosed with the cards encourage children (and adults) to think about and talk about feelings. Being able to recognise and describe feelings is fundamental to emotional intelligence and The Bear Cards can help children become more comfortable with the language of feelings, says John.
Playing with the cards will also offer opportunities to talk about how best to deal with various emotions when they do occur.
“The response to The Bear Cards from parents so far has been very positive. One family reported a reduction in angry outbursts after playing with the cards regularly for a while.”
“What really gives me satisfaction is when the cards work their magic and, in some small way, assist someone to make positive changes. Some of the stories are very moving.”
John said a mother of two children from Melbourne recently gave him the following feedback:
“My daughter and I shared an emotional moment with The Bear Cards, when she revealed a deep sadness about her recently separated grandfather and his wife.
“Something had been bothering her for several weeks and had intensified in recent days. I was fairly sure I knew it was the break-up but it was important to me that she actually vocalised her grief out in the open.
“I tried my usual soft coercion to try and get her to tell me why she was down. She came back to me quite firmly that it was her problem to deal with and she would not tell me what it was that was making her sad.
“After half an hour or so, I asked her if perhaps The Bear Cards might be able to help. I got her to shuffle through the cards and pick ones which best described how she felt. Though it broke my heart to see six cards of crying, angry and withdrawn bears, I remained calm and together we looked at them all.
“I asked her some simple questions about each bear. Why does he feel this way? Is that how you feel? I don't think that feels very nice does it?
“We compared the sad bears to the happy yellow ones. We talked about how it would be nice to be a yellow bear and that if she was able to talk about her sadness that it would help her.
“Although she still didn't want to tell me, when I suggested that perhaps I knew, she was open to me identifying her concern. I took a punt and asked her if she was sad about my dad. She nodded and immediately broke into a big cry.
“This was good. I wanted her to let out her feelings and through using The Bear Cards we were able to share something that she felt she could not tell me on her own. I also knew that if I had flat out asked her before using the cards she might have closed up.
“A couple of hours later, she came running up to me with a giant smile and said, "Mummy, I am like a yellow bear now." I quietly acknowledged her realisation and let her feel that she had done her own healing.
“I really feel that in using The Bear Cards, she was able to grieve and move on a little bit in this process. It was also comforting for me to know how she felt and help her to express this. She tends to be the kind of kid who holds things inside so I am happy that we have this option to work through things together.”
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About Qcards: Qcards is a new publisher of card sets that promote emotional and social well being. We aim publish card sets that are fun and affordable for families to use.