Do your children throw tantrums? Do you try disciplinary strategies and feel that they make little headway in teaching your child how to get over a mood swing?

There is a great resource for us! It is easy to work into your days, teaches children to learn about why they are having emotional swings and engages them in moderating their own behavior.

Crabbie Masters, is an exciting asset to parents, caregivers and their children whether they are toddlers, preschool age or school age! This program is a strategy for navigating and teaching through the emotions that feed tantrums. Your child will more deeply learn about his/her emotions and how taking care of their body (proper rest, nutrition, self-esteem) benefits everyone.


The Crabbie Masters program was developed by Ms. Becky Undlin, former elementary teacher, home daycare provider and now owner and teacher at her own home-based preschool. Becky knows kids!

She also happens to be a high school friend of my mother-in-law.  I was introduced to Crabbie Masters by my MIL and had the opportunity to review Ms. Undlin’s materials as well as utilize the program in my home with my children.

You will definitely find this useful even if you only use parts of the program.  This teaching tool can be utilized with older toddlers and is absolutely a key to helping children learn the self-control they need during the preschool years.

Through the use of cartoon characters called “The Crabbies” children learn to place a personality and concrete name on their emotions. We know from basic child development for toddlers and preschoolers, that giving topics that are hard to understand concrete, tangible images are an asset for children’s learning.

On her website, Becky has free printables of “The Crabbies.”  She even has certificates that your child can earn as they “beat the crabbies.” Even if the printable coloring sheets and certificates are all you use, you and your child will benefit from this program!

The Crabbies
are the reasons that tantrums result: tiredness, hunger, self-doubt, etc
.  If my son does not get enough rest and chooses to not nap, the “Too Tired Crabby” will get him!

Boy plugging ears in protest to adult speaking. Text reads navigate and teach through tantrums.

Teaching Through Tantrums

When I received Becky’s materials to try at home, I started by talking to my son about “Too Tired” and how if we are tired, we get worn out and unable to focus which can make us crabby.  This was at a time when he was starting to eliminate an afternoon nap, but we needed to still teach that a rest time is necessary.

He colored the printable coloring sheet of “Too Tired” and we discussed the chart listing healthy habits we can keep to fight off “The Crabbies”.  For about a week, any time he protested taking a nap or threw a tantrum due to not sleeping at nap time/rest time, I would mention that he was letting “Too Tired” get him.  He would always push with his hands into the air and say, “There! I just pushed it away. ‘Too Tired’ didn’t get me.”

It is amazing the break through your child can have with these images.

We as parents need to be teaching about emotions and part of that means expressing how we feel to our children in concrete terms to help these untouchable aspects of life (feelings, thoughts and emotions) become more manageable to them.Start with the printable coloring sheets and try one “Crabbie” at a time.  Explore the Crabbie Masters website and post comments or questions as you have them.  (You can find her program on Facebook too!)

Becky is a great resource since she has spent the majority of her teaching career running her own preschool out of her home. She KNOWS this age group.

The Crabbie Masters program is absolutely a tool for parents.  I believe it will add creativity and teaching to those moments of meltdown that frustrate us all.  Who knows, you may even benefit from a little lesson on beating your own “Crabbies” on the days we all want to melt down!
Mom holding a toddler who is visibly upset. Text reads teaching through tantrums.
Tantrums are a part of childhood. They can relate to a child's developmental stage and their age. Teaching through tantrums take a few lessons that teach your child how to manage their emotions as they grow.

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(“Crabbie Masters” and the included images are used by permission from Ms. Becky Undlin.)