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Friday, July 6, 2018

Rewards and Consequences Game Cards

One of the most common presenting problems I see in my school-based practice is impulse control issues. Most of my kiddos with ADHD and autism struggle with impulse control, but I see so many other kids that just fail to think before acting on a regular basis. I have found that it is helpful to role play with them or present situations to help them think through appropriate courses of action.

I address impulse control through many different ways such as having them do activities that require them to follow directions, games like red light/green light, and giving them choices for immediate gratification or giving them a larger reward if they wait for it. I have used the Stop, Relax, and Think game, and making Stop and Think activities.

I have also used Chutes and Ladders for years to address impulse control and discuss logical consequences for behavior. I like how the game board shows children making decisions and receiving either rewards or a negative consequences for their actions. It is a good way to open the conversation about thinking through things before acting and making deliberate choices to enjoy rewards. I created these game cards to give more depth to the game, having players answer a card with each turn. Cognitive behavioral therapy is incorporated to help children address their thoughts on these situations and to correct irrational thoughts, such as others make them do things and that they do not have control over their behavior.

These game cards can be played with other games besides Chutes and Ladders, such as Jenga, pick up sticks, or UNO. They could be played with many other games as well. They will transform the game into a play therapy tool. They are situational role cards that allow children to think of the consequences of behaviors. Some cards also address individual behaviors of the child and the consequences of their actions. Many cards focus on the social impact of impulsive behavior, which will lend these cards to being used in social skill groups or private sessions.

To use in sessions, choose a game to play with the client or group. Each turn, the child will select a card and read the prompt. Allow the child time to discuss their thoughts about the situation. For a group, it is helpful to allow members give feedback to one another. Allow the person who drew the card share their ideas first.

You can also find our games on Amazon, Ebay, and Teachers Pay Teachers 

My Life Game Cards

When I first began working in the counseling field, a coworker discouraged me from playing the Game of Life with clients, stating it reinforces traditional family and would make them feel that they must have children and take a certain journey through life. At the time I disagreed, thinking it could open the door for discussion. So I shelfed the idea. Since that time I have been debating on how to use the game without taking a judgmental stance. I decided the easiest way would be to replace the "action" cards with cards that explore values, goals, and career exploration. The cards allow the client to give voice to their opinions on matters of marriage, having children, and career options. This game would be best used with middle school or high school students, but may also be beneficial with mature higher elementary-aged children.

As with most games, this will allow you as a therapist many avenues to explore. You can use it as a diagnostic tool to listen for strong opinions, worries, or apathy. These questions are designed to start discussion about basic values and goals for the future. When discussing how they envision their future family life, it will open the door to discuss how their current family situation has led to those desires. It can also flag possible triggers that may need to be addressed.

One goal I had in mind when making this game it to help clients develop an internal locus of control. I hear so frequently how they feel out of control and believe they are at the mercy of others. The questions in this game will help them identify how they can gain control through their every day decisions.

I hope you enjoy this new resource, and don't hesitate to let me know how it works in your sessions. You can find the cards here:
You can also find our games on Amazon, Ebay, and Teachers Pay Teachers