Ben’s Traffic Lights

I was putting the kids to bed in the BAT Cave tonight (that’s Ben, Addie, and Theo’s bedroom, get it?), and frankly, it was not going very well.

Probably it was Theodore’s fault, but I’ll take the blame, since I’m the Parent. I was getting quite huffy, grumpy, upset and not-having-any-of-it.

That’s when Ben interrupted.

“Dad! I have an idea of what we can do when we start getting angry.”

(I love that he said “we,” and that he’s problem-solving together about ways to manage big feels. Dream come true.)

He goes on to explain that we can use the traffic light system.

“When you’re mad at Theo, you can say, ‘Theo, my light is red, I need your car to stop. When you are fine with what’s happening, you can say, ‘Theo, my traffic light is green, you can keep doing this.’ And when you are starting to get upset you can say ‘Theo, my light is yellow, I need your car to slow down and get ready to stop.”

I tried it out. The red light had a nice, clear, expectation-setting firmness to it. When I laughed a couple times during stories and songs, Ben asked if my light was green, but I assured him it was still yellow.

As I was getting ready for Ben’s part of the night, I knelt down next to him in his bottom bunk and told him I really liked his traffic light idea. I asked him if they’ve been practicing that in school.

He shook is head, no.

“You made that up?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Just tonight?”

He nodded with a smile.

“Is it okay if I write about that on my website?”

He agreed.

Benji is inventing emotional management tools to teach his parents (and now the world) as a six-year-old. The next generation is gonna just fine, folks.