The Social and Emotional Competence Game

The Social and Emotional Competence Game is more focused on specific aspects of functioning and behavior. The game is a useful introduction for children just starting in therapy, and can be played multiple times at different stages in therapy. The game can also be played in small groups and with siblings. The design of The Social and Emotional Competence Game is premised on the assumption that children who are able to initiate and maintain relationships, cooperate with others, empathize, and communicate effectively are are more likely to experience success at home, at school, and with their peers. Social and emotional competence refers to the capacity to recognize and manage emotions, solve problems effectively, and establish and maintain relationships with others. It is these skills that serve to protect our children from a host of difficulties including behavior problems, increased emotional distress, academic failure, delinquency, and substance abuse. The Social and Emotional Competence Game is designed to give counselors and teachers another tool to teach social and emotional skills. The Social and Emotional Competence Game is a fun way to teach empathy, communication skills, self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, self-management, and responsible decision-making.

Like The Talking, Feeling, and Doing Game, The Social and Emotional Competence Game consists of elements that are familiar to most children: a board, dice, pawns, chips, and a spinner. The object of the game is to have the most chips when time is up. Cards can be pre-arranged prior to a session to focus on specific issues. A separate set of cards is available to cover Asperger’s Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, and ADHD. Play is essentially the same as The Talking, Feeling, and Doing Game. Players roll a die, count out spaces and respond to a card that matches the color of the space they landed on. There are also spin spaces and detour spaces. When a player lands on a detour they go down a path that consists of squares that are all the same color.

The cards in The Social and Emotional Competence Game are labeled as follows: Sharing Feelings, Getting Along, Caring, Communication, and Cooperating. As the game progresses players become increasingly familiar with what these concepts are and the importance and advantages of engaging in these kinds of behaviors. The categories are broadly defined and overlap with each other. For example, Caring can involve such behaviors as being kind, sharing, and expressing a feeling appropriately.

Examples of Sharing Feelings cards

• Anthony doesn’t understand why his friend doesn’t invite him over anymore. How does Anthony feel? Should he discuss his feelings with his friend? Two chips.
• How might a child feel when their parent tells them that a grandparent has died? One chip.
• Name up to five things that make you feel sad. Earn one chip for each thing you can name.

Examples of Getting Along cards

• Barry’s brother always wants to play with his friends when they are over. Sometimes Barry doesn’t want him to. What can Barry do? Two chips.
• Rachel’s parents just told her they are going to have a new baby. She is not sure she wants a new baby in the family. Do you think she should talk to her parents? What should she say? Three chips.
• What is a nice thing to say to a parent? One chip.

Examples of Caring cards

• A new student joined Nancy’s class. What can Nancy do to make friends with her? Two chips.
• How can you show your friends that you care about them? One chip.
• Marcie is going to an amusement park with her friend. Her friend is afraid of a lot of the rides. What are some kind and helpful things Marcie can do for her friend? Two chips.

Examples of Communication cards

• Bill thinks all he ever does is chores and homework. He would like to talk to his parents. What are some things he can say? Three chips.
• Who is your favorite relative? Why? Two chips.
• Ted is five years older than his brother. Ted thinks his brother is treated differently. Should Ted talk about this? Explain your answer and get three chips.

Examples of Cooperation Cards

• Does your family have good cooperation skills? Explain your answer for two chips.
• Penny’s parents told her that she needed to cooperate next time she played a board game with her brother. Name three ways to cooperate when you play a game. Earn up to three
chips, one for each thing you can think of.
• Why do children want to have friends? One chip.

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