Preschoolers rate higher than toddlers on the feelings scale; they now experience a wider range of emotions than before. Help them identify what they feel and put it into words with our useful tips to help preschoolers learn about feelings.
How do you feel?’ is a question everyone faces at various points in their lives. Why, even Facebook isn’t shying away from asking you about your feelings! But social media apart, identifying one’s emotions and expressing them properly is extremely important, especially in relationships both at home and outside.
Young kids are human too, and they experience several emotions like happiness, sadness, fear and anger – and all these probably in the course of a single day! When they are toddlers, they lack the speech skills to express themselves. But preschoolers are able to express their emotions. Parents play an important role in helping kids express their feelings.
Parents and teachers need to take equal responsibility in helping preschoolers with their feelings, and everyone agrees that the best way to learn is through play. Here are some simple tips to help preschoolers learn about feelings and express them in the right way.
Use the Right Words
First of all, kids need to know what they’re feeling. When they’re feeling any particular emotion, tell them what it is: “You’re feeling happy right now because grandma bought you a chocolate”. Or “You’re sad because we couldn’t go to grandma’s house today”. Doing so consistently makes the words familiar to them and they’ll soon start using them on their own.
Read Books about Feelings
There are a large number of children’s books available today, specifically talking about a particular feeling like anger. Read these books to your children, as it will help kids understand that these feelings are normal and felt by everyone. It will also reinforce the name of each feeling.
Teach the Right Techniques
Kids need to learn that there are ways for dealing with every emotion, without hurting themselves or other people. For example, when sad, they can go to their room and sit quietly for a while. When angry, they can blow out or count to ten before saying anything.
Child experts claim that children’s drawings nearly always reflect their innermost feelings and desires. If your child is unable to talk about his emotions, let him draw or paint – it’ll give vent to his feelings and he’ll learn a new way of coping with them.
Encourage Tactile Play
Messy play involving sand, play dough, mud or paints help children come in contact with materials of different textures and is a great way to help them focus and give vent to their feelings.
Role Play with Dolls and Puppets
This is a great way to show kids how to behave and help them understand the dynamics of emotions. Just gather their dolls (or action figures or teddies) and create a scene where they get to talk about their feelings, or resolve an issue by talking about it. Kids will get the subtle message and they won’t even realize it!!
Take them Out
Even adults feel better when they are out in the fresh air and in contact with nature. Take kids to a place where they can relax and give vent to any aggression with lots of rough play.
When watching TV with your child, talk about how the characters in the show are feeling, and also ask him what he thinks about the way they’re dealing with their feelings. This will give you a good idea about his understanding about people and emotions.
Sometimes kids test your boundaries, and you’ll have to teach them the consequences of the same. But positive reinforcement always works much better than timeouts, so ensure that you reward your child whenever he works out his feelings in the right way.
Be a Good Role Model
None of these tips are going to work if you model the wrong behavior to your child. You are his first and most important role model, and feelings are a complicated matter for kids. So, always be sure that you use the right words and techniques to handle your feelings.
Being able to identify and express one’s feelings correctly has several advantages like – kids grow up more polite, they don’t bottle up emotions and are less stressed, they have healthier and more open relationships as adults. Most importantly, it encourages honesty and integrity, along with the ability to deal with tough situations without hurting anyone. And of course, a peaceful and happy home!!