Everyone Has Emotions
It seems like such a straightforward statement – everyone has emotions. That means regardless of who we are, how old we are, or where you live, we all have emotions. Now consider for a moment how feelings guide our interactions, decision making, response to things, tell us when we are in danger, serve as a constant companion, etc. Extend that reflection to how emotions impact our parenting and caregiving decisions, both in the moment and outside of it.
Everyone is Unique
Despite the fact that all people have emotions, we are also unique and can experience emotions differently, this includes our children. Emotions are one of the most personal things about us. In part, this is why talking about and exploring them can be so tricky. It’s essential to recognize how important they are and how they directly affect us as people, as parents, as children, etc.
Learning About Emotions is an Essential Life Skill
How does this understanding of emotions apply to you as a parent/caregiver?
In order to understand or manage our feelings (those things that make us act, think and do so many things), we need to be able to identify them. As adults we make informed decisions about how our children feel, but to truly understand what they are feeling, we need to give them skills for showing and telling us. When children have tools to share their feelings with us, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of parenting. It also helps them navigate the world more confidently.
Let’s Make it Fun!
A great way to teach kids any new skill is to make learning fun. Here’s a game you can play when you read a book, reflect on an interaction, problem-solve a situation, talk about a tv show, etc
Feelings Detectives Game 🔎
To play this game you are going to tell kids they are feelings detectives and they need to look for clues to solve the Feelings Mystery.
Clues: Talk about all the things that are signs for feelings
- Facial expressions: smile, frown, lips, eyebrows, …
- Changes in voice: tone, volume, speed, …
- Body posture: firm, wobbly, tall, ball, …
- Sensations in our body: butterfly tummy, sweating, hot, shaking, …
As detectives they can use their investigation skills to also try to understand how others MIGHT be feeling. Just like detectives, they might need to ask some questions to get the full picture of how someone else is feeling.
Note: I recommend you pick 1-2 feelings to start with.
- What does anger look like?
- Sound like?
- Feel like?
- What clues does our body give us when we feel angry?
- What clues do other people give us to tell us they are angry?
For more tips, tools and strategies for building emotional intelligence with your child join my Parenting and Caregiving Facebook Group