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Teaching Children to Express Their FeelingsTeaching 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 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
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.
Managing Feelings at 7 Year OldSo 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
- Young Children and Labeling Emotions – on my blog
- Three Steps to Building Empathy – on my blog
- Helping Young Kids Deal With Frustration – on my blog
- Create Your Own Anti-Anxiety Kit – from The Chaos and the Clutter
- Emotion Word Cards from Prekinders
- 5 Steps to Help Kids Learn to Control Their Emotions from Aha! Parenting
Your TurnHow do you teach your children manage their emotions?
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