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Better than a gadget: 'Pocket Mommy'

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Aila Malik of Milpitas is a mom of three, seven-years-old and younger, who just published a book entitled, “Pocket Mommy” to help children address overwhelming emotion associated with separation anxiety. The book is co-authored with her seven-year-old son, and is based upon his experience using a “pocket mommy” totem to talk about what happened during the school day.

This concept of keeping a totem in the pocket to talk about what happened during the anxious or emotional moments of the day is a way to help children identify and talk about their feelings; it promotes emotional intelligence that is a skill critical for being resilient in the social network where cyberbullying is prevalent.

The earlier we train children to tame emotion, the more cyber safe they will be.

Related reading: Resiliency in the network-Kids need to know they matter

“My son had a hard time leaving us to go to school,” Malik said. “So I cut out a paper doll and called it “pocket mommy”, and he could discreetly keep in his pocket and take it to school. When he came home I would ask him, ‘what did pocket mommy see today’? and it helped him to talk about things that happened at school and his feelings.”

Roxanne Brecek of El Dorado Hills is a mom of two children under the age of five has used the Pocket Mommy concept to help her 4-year-old son deal with separation from his father ('pocket daddy') during their divorce. “For young children starting at about three years old this is a great tool to help them place their emotions for later conversation,” she said. “It also provides a reminder, or reassurance that while mom or dad is not with you physically, they are still rooting for you.”

According to Malik, below are some of the questions to ask your young child about “pocket mommy or daddy” to encourage conversations about emotion.

  • What did pocket mommy or daddy see today?
  • When did she or he come out? Why?
  • What do you want to show pocket mommy or daddy tomorrow?

According to Brecek, having a conversation piece in their pocket helps comfort children and more importantly, give the parent a better understanding of their child’s emotions.

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