I had been scrolling through a superhero imagery recently, and I was a little appalled that the superheroes that kids would like to identify with are dry muscular figures. Yes, I understand that superheroes are super partly, because they are unreal fantasy characters. However, these superhero figures provide a rather inaccessible for children to identify with.
This started me thinking about what are the immaterial superhero qualities and how children could learn these real qualities of a superhero. What could be those true superhero skills every child can practice? That’s how I came to create our Inner Superhero Cards.
Here are the skills of a superhero that every child can learn:
The superhero must be able to calm himself down – otherwise he will not be able to focus on the tasks of the superhero. Only by reassuring oneself and calming down, can one act, even in intimidating or exciting situations. Here’s a mindfulness concentration exercise for all little superheroes to practice from our Inner Superhero Cards for Kids cards:
One superpower of a superhero is the SUPER10:
They concentrate on their breathing: breathing in and out on the count of each finger: thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, little finger – and again on other hand.
The superhero must be curious; open to all the information he receives. He must be able to keep his senses open, to divert his attention to what he wants to get information from: sounds, emotions, thoughts, or his own bodily sensations. Such curious and open attention is a characteristic of the mindfulness method. Not analysing or evaluating but rather noticing and moving your attention. Here’s one curiosity exercise for all superheroes from our Inner Superhero Cards for Kids cards:
When a superhero has a bad mood, they can feel it in their body. They can feel the emotion with their superhero senses. Where in the body can you feel bad emotions. Put your hand where you can feel the tension. (You may also draw your answer.)
Positivity self-talk is a superskill for a superhero, because in tough situations they know how to encourage themselves – and then they can encourage others as well. When a superhero knows how to encourage themself, they give themselves a chance to succeed. Here is an exercise from our Inner Superhero Cards for Kids cards to teach encouraging self-talk:
In an exciting situation, a superhero will calmly breathe in and out, and whisper words of encouragement to themselves. What could be your word of encouragement? Try combining your words with breathing: Calmly breathe in and out, and whisper your superwords of encouragement.
The superhero is always on the side of good and kindness. Kindness means compassion for others, but also for yourself. A superhero can only save the world if he recognizes what is good for people. Here is a reflection exercise from our Inner Superhero Cards for Kids cards:
The superhero knows what is fair and just and acts accordingly. What kinds of things do you think are fair? What about unfair?
Emotional skills and other secret superhero skills
Emotional skills are a superhero’s secret super skillset. The superhero first recognises the emotions in himself so that he can recognise them in others as well. This way, the superhero perceives the kind of secret information about people that they may often try to hide. Here is a reflection exercise from our Inner Superhero Cards for Kids cards:
The superhero is so brave that they dare to feel all their emotions. What emotions can you name?