Lunch Bunch Update

What we did today:

Today we learned three steps for problem solving, and acted them out using puppets. These steps include a series of three questions that the child should ask and answer aloud:

Step 1: How do I feel? This question prompts the children to think of their emotional state. If they recognize a strong feeling - as we have been practicing with our feelings monitors - this signals them to calm down first.

Step 2: What is the problem? This question helps children identify the situation and name the problem. Using stories of social situations, we practiced describing the problem with a non-blaming statement (for example, "We both want to play with the hula hoop. There is only one hula hoop.")

Step 3: What can I do? This question shifts the child's attention toward thinking of a solution for the problem they have just described. Next week we will learn about the Solutions Suitcase (pictured below). Using the Solutions Suitcase, we will think through and act out several possible solutions including "play together," "share," "say, 'please,'" "wait and take turns," and more. The children are also prompted to come up with their own creative solutions for the situation. For every solution presented, we will explore possible outcomes and consequences in an if/then format.

Tips for bringing it home:

Through repeated practice of asking these three questions aloud, your child will begin to internalize them. As adults, we automatically use this cognitive process without even thinking about it when we come across a problem that we must solve, big or small. Here are a few tips for helping your child learn the process:

  • Talk to your child about lunch bunch. Ask them to tell you about the three steps for problem solving.
  • Make a "solutions suitcase" with your child. You can access the cue cards we used in lunch bunch through this website: (scroll down to the "Teaching Social Emotional Skills" section and look for the PDF titled "Solution Kit Cue Cards"). You may also enjoy working with your child to create your own solution cards with creative solutions specific to your home environment.
  • Use everyday situations to help your child practice the problem solving steps. While prompting them with the steps, allow them to take as much responsibility as possible in coming up with a positive solution. If your child is struggling to find an acceptable solution, give them a few choices (for example, "you may choose to share the toy with your sibling, take turns with the toy, or play with another toy").