In the mornings when children go to kindergarten, often the tense atmosphere due to parents being late for work passes without the opportunity and time to tell their children how they feel that day. It means a lot to them that when they come to kindergarten they see someone interested in their feelings, that it is important to someone how they feel that morning or whether they dreamed of something. Even if not the best, the gesture itself will improve the mood. If the child is not in the mood for a story, there is always a time during the morning when he can show his feelings through the drawing. And finally, a hug is sometimes enough to make the child feel loved and carefree.
If not the mood is more aggressive behavior, it should be given some space and does not invade attention. Explain the feeling with words that your child can easily understand. Try using pictures, books, to conjure up a picture of the emotion that is present in the child. Teach your child different ways we can cope with feelings. Let your child think of ways he can handle his feelings. Talk about positive and not-so-positive ways to express feelings.
There are several ways to express feelings appropriately
Use real-life examples of what your child knows. Teach your child new ways to respond to emotions by discussing common situations that your child remembers or that happens frequently. For example, “You were angry yesterday because Adam wouldn’t let you play with his ball. You were so angry that you hit him. When you get angry that Adam won’t let you turn, what to do?” You can use children’s books to talk about feelings. For example, ask a child while reading a book, “What (the character in the book) is currently feeling? How do you know? Have you ever felt that way? What do you do when you feel that way?”
Keep it simple, use visuals, or make your pictures to help you understand your attitude and always try to relate the lesson to something that happens in your child’s life. Teach your child new strategies to use when experiencing emotions that may be inappropriately expressed (e.g., anger, nervousness, sadness).
Strategies a child can use:
- deep breath when frustrated or angry,
- seeking an adult to help resolve a conflict,
- seeking a turn when others will not share,
- asking for a hug when it is sad and
- finding a quiet place to calm down in need.
Compliment your child when he or she first tries to talk about their feelings instead of just reacting. It’s really important to tell your child exactly what she did and how proud you are of her for talking about feelings. It should always be okay to say what we feel. In this way, we decide to show our feelings and respond to them, which requires a special effort.
Support your child to talk about feelings and practice new strategies to express emotions properly, every opportunity you get. For example, you can talk about feelings when you play a game, when you are in the car, or when you are having dinner. All kinds of things happen every day, which will be a great opportunity for you to talk about feelings. The more often a child exercises, the faster your child will learn.
Game Make a face with your child. You start the game by saying, “I’ll make a face, guess what I’m feeling by looking me in the face.” Then, make a happy or sad face. When your child is struck by the word of feeling, respond by saying, “That’s right! Do you know why I feel this way? “Follow the description of something simple that makes you feel (eg,” Going to the park makes me happy. “I am sad when it rains and we cannot go to the park.” Related to your emotions (e.g. . “When a friend doesn’t call me, I feel sad.”) Then tell your child, “Turn around, make a face, and I guess what you’re feeling.”
Do not be surprised if your child chooses the same emotion that you have just shown; it will be a while before your child gets creative with this game. Once you have a guess, ask your child to name what makes him or her like that. Try gesturing your face to show the emotion it showed.
Read a book to a child that shows characters experiencing different emotions (e.g., sad, happy, scared, worried, confused, etc.). Stop at the page where the character displays the expression.
Ask your child:
“What do you think he/she feels?”
“Why does it feel like that?”
“Look at her face, what makes you say she’s __?”
“Have you ever felt ___?”
“What makes you feel that way?”
“What happens when you feel that way?”
“What should he/she do?”
Make a book of emotions with your child. An easy project to do with your child is to create a home book. All you need is paper, crayons or markers and staplers. You can make a book about one emotion and get your child to fill the pages with the things that make her feel. For example, the “Lucky Book” may have pictures of you and your child drawing things that make her happy, pictures cut from magazines pasted on pages or photos of friends and family. Another approach is to have a book about different emotions and create a page about each of several emotions (happy, crazy, surprised, scared, irritated, proud, etc.).
For kids who have a lot to say about their feelings, you may want to tell them a sentence about what feels like an emotion so you can write the sentence on the page. Then your child can cut out a picture to paste in a book or draw a picture that will go with emotion. Warning, this activity will probably be comfortable for your child if you do it together, but it can be difficult for your child to do it alone.
Play “Mirror, mirror … what do I see?” With your child. Using a hand-held mirror or wall-mounted mirror, play this game with your child. Look in the mirror and say “Mirror, mirror, what do I see?” Then make an emotional face. Follow the calling of emotions by saying, “I see a sad mom watching me.” Turn to your child and say “your turn.” Help your child remember the phrase “Mirror, mirror what do I see?” You may need to tell this to your child. Then, tell your child to smile and help him say the following sentence “I see a happy Patrick looking at me”. Don’t be surprised if your kid always wants to use the emotion you just demonstrated. Play the game until your child loses interest.
Source:The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, Vanderbilt University