Helping Our Kids Identify and Understand Their Emotions

Teaching our kids to name their feelings is such an important skill.

The last few days I have been in Texas visiting my sister and nephew.  He is so much fun and full of energy, but like many preschoolers, he struggles to understand his emotions.

Using colors to express emotions is a great tool!

Because kids learn their colors at such an early age, you can match the color with the emotion. So, we got out the paintbrushes and let him paint red, blue, and yellow on a paper plate.

Helping kids understand mad, sad, and glad is a great place to start.  So, we wrote the word, mad, on the red paper plate.  You can also use the word, angry.  We wrote sad on the blue paper plate, and my sister liked happy instead of glad, but either word will work on the yellow paper plate.

My sister hung these colored plates on a wall so her son can tap the plate that matches how he is feeling. Helping him learn to name the emotion is the beginning of helping him learn how to manage his emotions in a healthy way.

Let me share with you another tool called Name That Feeling that we learned from my kid’s counselor; this one is great for elementary aged kids.

The counselor used paint cards from Lowes that have 3 color shades.  We chose red to represent the emotion anger.  The counselor helped the boys come up with a word for the light red when they are slightly angry (annoyed), for the middle red (mad), and then for the darkest red (enraged or charged). 

Each word would get more intense as the colors get deeper shades. 

By having the kids pick the word, you are giving them ways to describe how they are feeling. So instead of saying, I am angry. They could share a word that shows the level of anger.  I feel deep red right now; I am charged or enraged.  I believe this tool will help increase the emotional literacy of you and your kids.

As you can see in the picture, we chose yellow for happy and blue for sadness. I recommend letting your child pick the color for their emotions and then help them select words for each shade.  Then, instead of asking, “Are you sad?”  You can ask, “What shade of blue are you?”

Understanding the depth to what they are feeling as well as offering them comfort are some of the greatest gifts you can give your child. 

Praying these tools help you and your family as we teach our kids to identify and understand their emotions.

Note: If you want to hear more about this, you can listen to an episode on my Depth Podcast where my sons and I talk about Family and Feelings. Click on Depth Podcast Episode 26.

Love, Jodi

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