Have you played Nipper Cards?
Fun card games – connecting children with their emotions
Did you know?
Recognising and naming our emotions allows us to make choices about how we behave (what Dr Daniel Siegel calls “name it to tame it”). The human brain only learns to manage emotion (aka ‘self regulate’) after hundreds of experiences of being well supported. Nipper Cards allow children to learn in a fun and relax environment while helping parents to become curious rather than furious.
Families will learn to
Recognise → Communicate → Move forward
It all happens with ‘Inspirational Affirmation Cards’
but we call them …
Meet some of the characters
How Nipper Cards work
The idea of Nipper Cards is simple. They’re ‘affirmation cards’ that provide children with a fun way to start a conversation about how they’re feeling – which helps them to manage their emotions. In short, Nipper Cards help children to help themselves. At the same time, by getting involved in the children’s Nipper Card games, parents and carers learn to understand their children better – and recognise the reasons behind behaviours.
Nipper Cards also teach parents to recognise why their children may be ‘behaving badly’ and support the child rather than scold them.
Each Nipper Card features an animal which represents a quality and its opposite. The rabbit represents fear, the opposite of which is courage. Each animal has four cards with different messages, each reflecting both sides of that quality. Examples include –
“I am an inspiration to others” (Wolf 4)
“Worries are just ‘stories’ my brain makes up” (Spider 2)
“It’s okay to be silly sometimes” (Porcupine 2)
When a child picks a card, they have the opportunity to think about how they relate to that animal and to its characteristics. They’re encouraged to engage with the animal by considering the qualities and characteristics they might share with that animal.
We all find it easier to calmly reflect on problems when we employ self-distancing strategies. Making a connection with the animal and then considering similarities is a helpful way of doing this. In this way, children are able to step back and transfer the problem onto the animal. They almost always find this a less embarrassing/shameful way to process their feelings.
Recognising, accepting and acknowledging our emotions is the first step to managing strong feelings. Children who can self-regulate tend to achieve more in school and in life than those with higher IQ’s.
The Nipper Cards story
Janthea Brigden, founder of Nipperbout and creator of the Nipper Cards explains the background behind Nipper Cards.
“I created these cards initially for my own children to help them understand their emotions. My daughter was struggling with friends. She frequently picked the rabbit card, which sparked her curiosity, helping her to recognise and acknowledge her fear of not being liked or loved.
“Sometimes, it can be difficult to understand the reasons behind children’s behaviours and how to best support them. The cards provide a playful way to support this journey of exploration. We use the cards in our events as a way to engage with children of all ages.”