To a kid, feelings are everything. They’re big, scary, fantastic, amazing and strange. It’s a lot to process!
How do our feelings connect to our actions? Apart from verbal cues, body language can help us understand how a person is feeling. Sometimes, it can even help us know how we’re feeling. When someone turns up the corners of their mouth, shows us some teeth and crinkles the corners of their eyes, we interpret that to mean that person is happy. When we find ourselves crossing our arms and furrowing our brows, something must have made us angry.
Helping kids tune into body language can help them build empathy skills and feel more in control of their own emotions. It’s one step to developing better self-management down the road.
So how can we make all this emotional learning fun? Turn it into a game!
1. Slips of paper
2. Pencil or pen
1. The first version focuses on how we feel about certain things. For instance, how does your child feel when she hears, “Let’s go get ice cream?”
2. On a strip of paper, write down a situation that would make someone feel happy, scared, angry, etc. Fold strips and put them into a bag or container. Then have family members chose a strip and act it out.
3. In the second version, we’ll work on building your child’s emotional vocabulary. How many different words are there for feeling angry? How about words for feeling happy? Too many to count.
4. On a strip of paper, write down synonyms for the words, angry, scared, etc. Go ahead and throw in some silly ones too. Then unleash your inner thespian and act them out. Have fun with it!
Your Voice. Their Imagination.