How many folks have observed our little angels become piranhas and leave their mark “literally” on their playmates or caregivers? Child therapy practice is flooded with children in daycare and preschool who are on the verge of getting “kicked out” because they keep biting their peers. Some parents are shocked and mortified by their children’s behavior and treat it as a discipline issue. Some parents will put the sauce in their children’s mouths or maybe bite their children back! Their children’s behavior is simply a desperate effort to speak their needs or feelings to others. I’m not saying the action shouldn’t have consequences. At Preschool San Diego, emotional literacy training is given a lot more crucial than anywhere else.
On the other hand, teach your children the talents to precise their feelings to not finish up within the same situation again and again! Toddlers usually move out of this behavior as they grow old and acquire the emotional vocabulary to form their feelings heard by those around them, but why wait? Toddlers have the potential and, therefore, the capacity to find out how to express their feelings – they only got to be coached within the right direction. I even have worked with many young children and a few older children who had a minimal emotional vocabulary. I even have worked with children who couldn’t identify their feelings outside of happy, sad or mad. I even have worked with many children – even older children – who didn’t know what the meaning of “worried” meant. Children would often mislabel their feelings as “sad” once they meant “scared.” When children don’t have the power to accurately describe how they’re feeling, we as parents will have a more challenging time knowing how to help them. So let’s roll up our sleeves and teach our toddlers the way to express their feelings.
Table of Contents
Label your Children’s Feelings
Often younger toddlers have a limited vocabulary, and once they are upset, their language becomes even more limited. Toddlers will revert to grunting, growling, shouting, crying and pouting once they are bitter. Most of the time, parents know why their child is upset. Help your children put words to their feelings. If your children are upset because they can’t have a cookie and that they are pouting, you’ll say something like, “You are mad. You’re mad because you would like a cookie and that I won’t allow you to .” As simplistic as this sounds, you’re actively teaching your children how to link their feelings to words. As your children hear you employ more feeling words, they’re going to start to correct you if you’re not accurately labeling their emotions. They could say, “I am not sad! I’m mad!! I wanted that toy, and she or he just took it away.” When your children start to try to do this – you’ll know they’re beginning to develop their emotional intelligence. You can also encourage your children to see within the mirror while you say, “Look at your face. it’s all red and scrunched up. You look very angry immediately .” This may give them a visible image of their mood and an emotional word that matches their feelings.
Point out People and Label their Feelings
Observation may be a wonderful thing to learn. Once you see someone showing a robust emotion, label the sensation for your toddler. you’ll say, “You see that tiny girl. She is crying. She must be sad. i’m wondering why she is gloomy .” Labeling other people’s feelings increases your children’s emotional vocabulary and can improve their empathy towards others. Your children will be ready to read social situations more accurately due to their ability to read others’ emotions. Pre k San Diego has specific activities for pointing out the feelings and emotions.
Have a Feelings check-in at Dinner
It is a pleasant family tradition to check-in with everyone at dinner. Some families will have everyone at the dining table tell a “high and a low” for their day. You’ll adapt this tradition for younger children and have everyone say something that made them happy and mad that day. you’ll alternate what feelings you employ every day, keeping a positive emotion (happy, excited etc.) and an unpleasant feeling (scared, mad, sad etc.).
For toddlers that are restless and don’t sit for dinner, you’ll do that check-in at bedtime once you are tucking them in.
Play Feeling Games
You can play a “Guess my Feeling” game with your toddler. you’ll both alternate making facial expressions, and you each need to guess what feeling is being shown.
This helps on two levels. One, it helps your children match up your facial expressions to your various emotions. Two, it allows them to match their facial expressions to emotion also. Play the sport near a mirror, where your children can visually see their various expressions. If your child is technologically savvy, they will play apps specifically designed to help toddlers learn and express emotions. If you type in “feelings” when checking out games, you’ll be presented with an extended menu of toddler and preschool games supported feelings – many of them are free.
Watch Shows and Skim Books that specialize in Feelings
Children learn through many various modalities. There are many great children’s shows that have feelings in every episode. One of my favorite shows for this is often a Nick Jr. show whose premise is to show the Chinese culture and does a superb job at labeling feelings and teaching children emotional problem-solving. Another favorite of mine is that the PBS show Daniel the Tiger, which covers some excellent topics around emotions and problem-solving.