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snappy baby crocodile story collaborative problem-solving Ross GreeneI wrote this story for you and your kids enjoy together. 

If you like, you can pause and give your children a chance to jump in and add their ideas. I included the three dots “…” as a way to remind you when there’s a good moment for brainstorming.

If you would like to add an activity to your story time, I drew this colouring page just for you! I’ll email it to you (did you know you can print from your phone? I just discovered this.)


Once upon a time, there was a little baby crocodile named … Snappy!

Snappy had a mother who loved him very much, and she often took him for rides around the lake, with Snappy riding on top of her head.

Snappy and his mother would zoom across the lake very fast, as his mother swished her big powerful tail: swoosh, swoosh, swoosh!

Sometimes Snappy’s mother noticed something that bothered her. Snappy’s little claws were very sharp, and they dug into her big bumpy head when she swam.

She would tell Snappy sometimes… “Hey! That hurts! Please stop scratching me!” and Snappy would say “Ok mommy!” but the next time, she felt those little claws start to dig in again!

Snappy’s mother thought and thought… “Uh oh. he didn’t listen.” She decided: “Maybe I’d better let Snappy know I’m serious.”

“Snappy,” she said, “If you put your sharp little claws in my head ONE MORE TIME, I’m going to… dive under the water, blub blub blub!” So Snappy listened and said… “Ok mommy!”

The sun was starting to set, and it was time to get back home to the nest.

Snappy crocodile problem solving

Snappy’s mother swished her powerful tail and started to zoom back across the lake, and uh oh, what was that? OUCH! Snappy’s mother felt those little claws dig into her head, so blub blub blub, she dove down into the cold green lake.

Snappy splashed and glugged and squeaked, “Mommy! I got water in my nose! I forgot to close my eyes! What did you do that for?”

Snappy’s mother slowed down so that Snappy could climb back up, and she listened to his little coughs and sniffles.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “That was no fun at all. Are you okay?”

Snappy waved his tail bravely as the water slid off his scales, and said “Yes! I’m okay!”

Snappy’s mother said “OK, let’s figure this out. We’ve talked about those claws on top of my head, and it keeps happening. I know it’s not fun for you when I give you lots of reminders, or dive under the water, blub blub blub. How about we figure out together: why do you keep digging your claws into my head?”

Snappy thought for a minute, and said “Well, Mommy, you do go very very fast when you zoom across the lake.”

Snappy’s mother said “Hmmm. You feel like I go very fast?”

Snappy said “Yes, you go super super fast, and I get scared, and then I hang on tight!”

Snappy’s mother said, “Ok. This sounds like it must be hard for you! What should we do about that?

Snappy thought for another minute and said… “It would be better if I had something to hang on to. Maybe something like… a stick?”

Snappy’s mother said “You are absolutely right! Something to hang on to would be a great way to solve the problem. How about this?” She used one of her big sharp claws to grab a long piece of sea weed. She wrapped it around her head and held it in her jaws. Snappy hopped on top, and held the seaweed nice and tight, waving his tail with happiness.

Snappy’s mother smiled a big toothy smile, swished her tail, and together they zoomed back across the lake, faster than they had ever zoomed before.


Snappy the crocodile collaborative problem solving

BONUS: Discussion questions for mamas and kids:

  • What was Snappy’s big problem?
  • What was Mama’s big problem?
  • Did they have the same problem?
  • What usually happens when I remind you about something over and over again, like Snappy’s mom did?
  • What usually happens when I give you a consequence, like when Snappy’s mom went underwater?
  • How did Snappy’s mother figure out how to solve the problem?
  • How did Snappy help solve the problem too?

Pssst, one more thing: Snappy’s mother helps solve the problem using a very gentle and helpful technique, developed by Dr. Ross Green. He teaches this technique in detail in his book, which I suggest every parent should keep on their shelf! Follow this link to put the book on your wishlist or in your shopping cart!