Chaplains who are in the business of comforting people who are ill or in distress know that comforting children presents a unique challenge. How do you help children who are feeling afraid, anxious, alone or unloved?
Our CuddleBunny’s Comfort Coins offer a simple system to help children of a wide range of ages soothe themselves when they are upset. They consist of a soft 4″ ball of fluff to hold against their cheek, and four wooden affirmation coins to rub while repeating the affirmation they need to feel better.
I feel brave because I am brave.
I feel calm because I am calm.
I feel loved because I am loved.
I feel wonderful because I am wonderful.
These simple affirmations can help a child take control of their emotions and feel better about their situation. Give them to children in stressful situations, such as entering foster care, going to a new school, when they are sick, or when a family member is sick. The soft bunny will comfort them physically, while rubbing the coins burn off physical stress, and the positive affirmations seep into their subconscious and give them strength.
They come in a velour pouch with an instruction card for the child and a Parent’s Insert that explain the science behind this approach. Click the tab to the left to read it.
Appropriate for children 4 and up ( 1-1/2″ coins are really too big to be a choking hazard, but better safe than sorry).
Please note that Cuddlebunnies are cute and fluffy, not squishy. They have a soft but solid core with fake fur all around.
For adults, we have 7 Adult Affirmation Comfort Coins in a velvet pouch without the CuddleBunny.
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the ability to self-regulate their emotions – that is, to calm themselves when they get upset, give themselves confidence when they are afraid, comfort themselves when they feel sad or lonely, and encourage themselves when they make a mistake or feel ashamed.
These are skills that last a lifetime and make every challenge easier to handle.
Parents can help by listening to their children and helping them find the vocabulary to describe their feelings. Hugs and words of assurance go a long way too. But ultimately, children are in charge of their own feelings. We can give them tools, but we can’t feel for them.
These comfort coins are just that – tools that children of any age can use to help identify their feelings and then work their way through them. They tap into three proven techniques for helping people focus and release negative emotional energy: repetitive physical movement, positive verbal affirmations, and comforting tactile stimulation.
If you’ve ever seen an upset child rock back and forth, tap their foot or bounce up and down, you’ve seen repetitive movement in action. We do it unconsciously to release the physical energy generated by our emotional state. Rubbing the comfort coin, like rubbing a worry stone, taps that natural process.
If you’ve ever meditated, said a rosary, or tried an affirmation, then you may know that there is a lot of research on the power of repeating calming phrases to help bring the heart rate down and focus the mind on positive thoughts. Saying the short positive phrases on the comfort coins achieves this calming effect without adding any religious overtones to the process. The virtues named on the coins are universal and positive.
If you’ve ever seen a child hug a teddy bear or favorite blanket when upset, then you will not be surprised to learn that research has shown that people are more sensitive to tactile stimulation when they are sad than when they are happy. This is why we added the Cuddlebunny to the comfort coins. Holding the soft fluff ball against their cheek and taking a deep breath will set the stage for the rest of the process.
When you first give your child their Cuddlebunny, explain to them how to use it. Encourage them to give it a name, then have them show you how they can hold it carefully, breathe deeply, and say the affirmations. Small children will need you to read the words on the coins to them. Note that the affirmations are circular. “I feel calm because I am calm because I feel calm…” This helps children understand the link between how they feel and the virtues they embody.
To start them off and get them into the habit of using their Cuddlebunny, you can suggest that they use the Cuddlebunny and coins for 5-10 minutes before they go to bed at night. All of the affirmations are perfectly appropriate for a bedtime ritual.
Once they are in the habit, you can encourage your children to carry the Cuddlebunny and coins with them wherever they go. They can be easily clipped to a backpack or belt loop. Then when something upsets them, they will be ready to start the calming process.
In many situations, your child will know exactly which of the coins they need to use. If they aren’t sure what they are feeling, encourage them to start with the “calm” coin until they are centered enough to know if one of the other coins is a better fit.
Of course, there are other ways children can learn to self-regulate their emotions. One of the easiest is to learn songs they can sing to themselves when stressed. Here are just a few songs you can teach your children. If you don’t know them, you can look them up online. Some will help your child calm down, some will cheer them up, a few will encourage them to be brave, and many of them will make them feel loved and wonderful.
Every child is different, so try out a few and see which ones they like. Having four or five that can be called to mind when they need comforting is enough, and often just the chorus will capture the essence of what they need to hear. (This isn’t a test to see how many they can learn.) If you sing to them when they are stressed, then they will learn that music helps them calm down. Then they can learn to sing to themselves, even if it is only in their heads. BTW: You can send us your ideas of songs to add to this list.
A Bushel and a Peck
Blue Skies (Smilin’ at Me)
Brave (Sara Bareilles)
Catch a Falling Star
Day Is Done (Mommas & the Pappas – Chorus)
Don’t Worry Be Happy (Bobby McFarrin)
Favorite Things (Raindrops on Roses)
Feelin’ Groovy (Simon & Garfunkle)
Hear Comes the Sun (Beatles)
I Think You’re Wonderful (Red Grammer)
It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Mr. Rogers)
Oh What a Beautiful Morning
Tomorrow (from Annie)
Que Sera, Sera (Doris Day)
See Me Beautiful (Red Grammer)
Skidamarink a Dink a Dink
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Sunshine on My Shoulders
The Thankfulness Song (Veggie Tales – prayerful)
This Little Light of Mine
True Colors (Cyndi Lauper)
What a Wonderful World
When You Wish upon a Star
Whistle a Happy Tune
You Are My Sunshine (Chorus)
Zip-a-dee-Do-Da (What a Wonderful Day)