Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dr Seuss Books Teach to Express Feelings: From Planet Smarty Pants
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Teaching Children to Express Their Feelings

Teaching young children to express their feelings is crucial. Research shows that children who know how to express their feelings in appropriate ways are less likely to exhibit behavior problems. They are also more empathetic towards others. This is why I intentionally choose books that talk about different feelings including “difficult” feelings of anger, jealousy, or sadness. I want my daughter to know that it’s OK to have these feelings and I want her to know the ways to make herself feel better.

My Many Colored Days

My Many Colored DaysMy Many Colored Days is one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, and it’s perfect in teaching your children to talk about their feelings and how to handle them. One unusual part about this title that it is not illustrated by Dr. Seuss, but by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher – I can’t think of another book by Dr. Seuss that wasn’t illustrated by him. The rhymed text on every page talks about a different feeling which is represented by a different color. We read My Many Colored Days before, but this time Smarty really enjoyed it and asked many questions about the use of font and the placement of words on the page. It was hard for me to answer some of them, because, after all, this is how artists chose to represent different emotions. Smarty kept insisting, by the way, that sad days are supposed to be blue and not purple like in the book.

Extending My Many Colored Days with an Art Project

Paint Your Feelings
I suggested that we extend the book by painting some of our cardboard body shapes. Smarty eagerly agreed, but she was not at all interested in making them “moody”. Instead, she painted different outfits on them creating a family. I also got to paint one (and I guess you can find mine in the picture below). I was hoping that she will also add some embellishments on top of them (she had a choice of sequins, stickers,  etc.), but she was quite satisfied with just having them painted. Her only disappointment was not having the fifth member of the family to be a baby (I only had four shapes). So she settled on the family of four – three of them had our names, and the fourth one was a brother – maybe Sam, maybe Jake. In fact, she started her first play with them with an announcement from mommy doll, I have great news! I am getting fatter, and it means that I am going to have a baby. It will be a boy. It’s been a couple days now, and she is still playing with her new paper dolls.
My Many Colored Days Paper Dolls

Managing Feelings at 7 Year Old

So now we fast forwarded several years from the original date of this post. I think we did some things right when we taught our daughter to recognize and express her feelings. She is pretty good in handling her emotions for her age. Recently in school they had a project when everyone needed to make a mood-o-meter and describe strategies to handle bad feelings. Clearly, Smarty was not paying attention, because her moods and actions are reversed from where they should have been, but I loved this insight into her mood-altering strategies. I love it even more that her best remedy for bad feelings of any kind is reading!

More About Managing Emotions

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Your Turn

How do you teach your children manage their emotions?
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Mom and Kiddo said...

I know it's scandalous but I freely admit I hate all Dr. Seuss books.... except My Many Colored Days. It's the only one with interesting illustrations and a text that does not want to make me poke my eyes out.

April said...

You know, I had just flipped through this book at the library but I didn't pick it up.

That is a great stART project, especially since she got to play with them long afterwards.

Ticia said...

I love the "Mommy's" announcement. That was great.

I think this is one of his books I keep meaning to pick up, but haven't really.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

We looked through this book, when we did our balloon emotion people, but I didn't like the colors he used for different emotions, either. It didn't really matter though, because the kids didn't seem to care what color went with what emotions for their balloons.

Anna, is so funny, I love the mommy is growing fat, thing!

Debbie said...

This is so cute! I just love how Anna always drops those little hints about a baby joining the family!

Anonymous said...

They are very pretty. I like that she makes things very pretty without having to have a lot of bling. That is also a cute story about the for the books.

My Family My Forever said...

I like Anna's pretend play with her adorable doll family. She is so smart and witty too:-).

We have never read this book. I've seen it so many times in the library. We will get it for sure!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

The doll family is wonderful. I love all the colors. My post is going up tonight. Please stop by.

Brimful Curiosities said...

My daughter always insists that her doll families must have a mom, dad, sister and brother mirroring our own family. Sometimes she includes a cat. Isn't it fun to listen to their made up conversations?

Crunchy and Green said...

I have never read that Dr. Seuss book, we'll have to look for it during our upcoming feelings unit. I love the doll family, both how colorful they are and the way she was happy with her creation just the way it was.

Isn't it funny how only kids always want a brother or sister? There are 8 years between our first two, and Jacob asked for a sibling every one of those years!

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Love how the dolls turned out -- a great project to go along with this book. Anna is so imaginative with her play!

Anonymous said...

She did a great job painting the dolls.

I'm not much for Dr. Suess books except for "My Book About Me" - that's the book where I figured out that Tornado Boy was reading.

artsy_momma said...

Cute project! I guess they are all happy- moody :)

Anne@LittleSproutBooks said...

Fun project! I enjoy My Many Colored Days too - even used to share it with my middle school students as a writing prompt! Another great feelings book is Yesterday I Had the Blues. It's on my to-review list, so you'll likely see it soon!

Wonder Mom said...

So adorable- the dolls and your girl!

Christy said...

I love the dolls! We own this book and it's one that we read often! We have used it for a book project in the past too.

MaryAnne said...

I haven't read this book, but it sounds like I should. And I agree with Anna - sad days should be blue =)