The Release Box: For When Emotions Are Too Much

Recently, our family went through a minor yet emotional upset. 

This is Blue Rock, my son's very first pet, a Betta Fish.  Blue Rock unexpectedly died.  This event brought up new and unfamiliar emotions for my six year old.

The event also started conversations we haven't had before, such as how people express grief and why we have ceremonies.   We talked about how ceremonies help us all to process our emotions.  They are important to help us share our grief and express what is going on inside.

Then, we talked about the ceremonies that are called funerals and the sorts of things that people do at them.  It was an emotional little conversation.  And then I gave my son an action plan:  I told him he could choose if he wanted to give Blue Rock a funeral.  And he could choose how that funeral went, and he could perform some ceremonies if he wished. 

My son chose to have a funeral for his pet.  First, he lovingly crafted a little box for his fish.  Then, he made a grave marker with a stone and dug a little hole outside in the dirt.

We stood as a family with him as he thanked God for the opportunity to have Blue Rock for a little while.  He laid a sprig of holly on the grave.  And that was all. 

A few tears and red eyes later, he was out playing with his sisters.  He had found a way to process his grief and could move on.

I took note that my son needed to express his grief.  This simple ceremony allowed him to do that. 

How many children are experiencing deep, heavy emotions and have no way to express them or do something about them?

Out of this, came "The Release Box", a free packet from Glimmercat Education for anyone to use, but specifically made for teachers and parents of children, age 5 to 12.

This is a single lesson, perhaps enough to cover 30 to 45 minutes in a classroom, if you take the time to do the Release Box Ceremony.  It is easy yet complex in what it deals with.

To clarify, I am no psychiatrist.  But like Mr. Rogers, I am very aware that children need a safe place to express grief and fear and anger.  Here is what is included in this seven page packet.



The HANDOUT for the child:

The EMOTICONS or WORDS of emotions to release (With a Note regarding a Release Ceremony):


Remember, there are many challenging emotions that we adults are dealing with these days.  And unfortunately, even with the best of intentions our fears and concerns, anger and frustration, can sometimes spill over onto our kids.  For some children, that is just too much.  Too heavy.  Too intense.

If you find yourself having difficult conversations, walk with your child through a Releasing ceremony.  Give them the opportunity to talk about their feelings.  Let them share about their hurts or heavy burdens.  Affirm them in those feelings.  It's important that they know that every feeling has an important purpose.  And then, give them the opportunity to release the heavier ones.  They don't need to carry them.

To download this free packet, go here

A beautiful picture book that might tie in well with this lesson is an incredible book I recently found entitled, "If You Plant a Seed" by Kadir Nelson. 

You can preview this incredibly written and beautifully illustrated story right here:

Thanks for reading. 


Amanda said...

Thank you for this great resource. Helping children deal with grief is so important, but so difficult.

LearningWithMrsKirk said...

Thank you for sharing this post! Sometimes it is hard to discuss grief and other strong emotions with our children and your suggestions are helpful!

Christina Morrison said...

You are both so welcome. Mr. Rogers was a pro at all this, wasn't he? One of my favorite quotes from him, is the one where he tells children to "look for the helpers" in times of disaster or uncertainty.

I think that we, as teachers, have a fabulous opportunity to be one of those helpers. Thanks for all that both of you do each day to help.