Teaching children about their emotions is a crucial part of their development. Once they gain the ability to verbalize their feelings, you as the parent should be prepared to support them in dealing with, and identifying, these emotions. It is very often forgotten that young children are occasionally not yet aware of their own state of mind and therefore they are unable to accurately explain what it is that they are experiencing emotionally. In this instance, they express strong emotions like frustration the only way they know how - with temper tantrums and crying.
This is where you can make the difference! There are certain factors kids cannot be expected to understand or sort out for themselves. Their emotions being just one. Below are a few activities you can apply to help them learn in identifying their basic emotions as well as in others.
Have your child sort and group pictures of people/children experiencing different emotions. Through repetition and practice, they should soon learn to recognize the body language that comes with these specific emotions.
PICTURE BOOKS AND SHORT STORIES
Reading to your children is one the most effective ways to teach them about their feelings and emotions. There are many brilliant books available that teach children how to recognize their emotions.
When teaching emotions, be it in schools or at home, the focus often falls on the three simplest emotions: happy, sad and anger. Introducing your child to a range of emotions will greatly benefit their socio-emotional development. Additionally, this can help with their emotional expression and help ease frustrations caused by having to describe a particular emotion.
VISION BOARDS FOR EMOTIONS
Vision Boards are and excellent way to help your child visualize emotional triggers. Create one or multiple vision boards with pictures chosen by your child displaying different things or people that make them feel a particular emotion. This in turn, may teach them that emotions are caused by several physical and external factors.
PLASTIC EGG FACES
Allow your child to explore different emotions with the help of interchangeable plastic easter eggs! With a permanent marker, draw a variety of expressions on the (Easter) eggs with the mouths on the bottom half and the eyes on the top half. Have your child switch the tops and bottoms of the eggs and see if they can identify the emotion created.
PRAISING HEALTHY EXPRESSIONS OF EMOTION
Having the ability to express your emotions in a healthy and appropriate manner is a skill that many adults are unable to do. When your child successfully tells you how they are feeling, praise them. It is important to be extremely specific in your praise so they can associate the positive response with clear expression. Overtime they will begin to openly express themselves to you or others in a clear manner.
Learning how to express and identify your emotions is just one of the many steppingstones in your child’s development. For more interesting articles on child development, be sure to visit our blog page!