How to use ELO Deck with Your Child

The ELO deck is a valuable tool and toy for parents of children of all ages.

This deck of affirmations and activities is designed to help your child learn to master their emotions and learn how to independently navigate the world around them. 

It is based on a child’s need to explore, learn, and observe the world and the people around them. 

While a child is very aware of their bodily needs, it takes them time to understand their emotional needs. More importantly, they must practice and learn how to identify and communicate their emotional needs, just the same as they learned to ask for food or a different toy or address any of dozens of needs.


ELO deck is affirmations – and so much more!

ELO (rhymes with “hello”) cards each contain a beautiful drawing with a simple statement on one side, each designed to reassure them and build a strong, positive sense of self.

I try new things

I am loved 

I have feelings

Parents can give the deck to their child, if they are of an age where they can take and read books from their own shelves. Or parents can choose to reserve the cards for certain times. Each of these alone can spark a conversation in the car, at bedtime, at dinner, or whenever else it fits into your schedule or meets their needs.

Each affirmation is written to help your child understand an aspect of themselves a little better.

More importantly as a parent, the conversations these cards spark can give you insight into how your child views the world. This lets you know where they are doing well, and where they need help.

Children are surprisingly observant and strong. However, the world holds many surprises for them. The more work you do in advance to help them develop their emotional toolset, the more able they will be to withstand the shocks and disappointments that fill every day.

This is why each card also has activities and other ideas on the back.


Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

How to use the activities in ELO deck

On the back of each affirmation is a short discussion of what this affirmation means. Additionally, there is a lesson or activity that can help visualize the affirmation. 

Depending on the age of your child, and their verbal abilities, there is a range of ways you can use these activities.

You can choose to just have a conversation. By reading the affirmation, or having your child read it, you can ask for examples of ways this affirmation is true. You and your child can take turns providing examples. 

An older child might be able to explore some examples where this affirmation was not true, or didn’t seem to be true. Then you can discuss how to change the situation next time, or to take steps to make it better. 

These conversations can also be used to to help your child understand that they are not responsible for the feelings of everyone else – that they can set up boundaries that allow them to thrive and help others as they are able.


Use ELO deck with a classroom or multiple children

Teachers and caregivers can use the ELO deck as part of daily lessons or examples with their children. 

Just as in the other examples, it can start with children repeating the simple affirmation multiple times and listing ways it is true.

Then the activity can be done as a demonstration, with the children gathered close or participating as they are able.

Of course, their verbal participation is welcome, and the teacher can amplify the ideas that match the lesson being learned.

Some teachers or caregivers might provide the ELO deck for children to use during reading time or during time out. This way they can silently explore the lessons and gravitate toward the one or ones that they need to hear in that moment.

Allowing for some choice helps to ensure that the deck provides what the child needs in that moment. And children are often helped when they don’t have to find the words themselves, but can choose from lists and examples. It helps them better discuss and describe something that is new to them when they do not have to come up with the words. 


Struggling with how to help your child navigate their world, or just looking for better ways to do the important work of raising an independent child?

Sakina Issa is a licensed family therapist, and is available to help you through online consultations. Click the red button to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today to see if talking with Sakina might help you with the challenges you are facing.


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