Preschooler Week 34


My Feelings Make Me Me

Children start to talk about their feelings spontaneously during their early years.  They gradually realize that everyone else has emotions too, and that each one has a different way of dealing with his or her own emotions.

It is also during this time that children realize that their emotions are connected with their likes and dislikes. Three-year-olds can become very emotional when they drop their toys, but such show of emotion can change in an instant. Kids can be crying one moment and laughing the next. This is why adults like you need to exhibit patience and understanding during this critical period of their growth and development.

As your children attempt to make sense of their emotions, you can help make the process a breeze by teaching them to use word labels. For instance, your child suddenly feels sad because his or her playmate had to go home, cutting their playtime short. You can help your child make sense of the situation by saying, “It looks like you are sad because you had to stop playing and Emma had to go home.”  Or if your child is outside and a butterfly lands on his or her hand out of nowhere, you can say, “Wow, you must have been so surprised when that butterfly landed on your hand!”

Make your child grasp even more that others have emotions as well. Use yourself as an example and label your emotions accordingly. When Grandma calls with great news about a party on Friday, you can say, “I’m so excited to go visit Grandma on Friday!” When you suddenly can’t attend an event you’ve been meaning to go to, you can articulate your feelings by saying, “I’m so disappointed that I can’t see my friend on Saturday because she has an emergency work meeting that day. But I’ll see her next week instead and then I’ll feel happy.”

You may also play a game with your child using a mirror.  You can state an emotion and both of you can make the matching facial expression in front of the mirror.  All the silly, goofy faces you’ll be making will surely make you laugh! You can take it a step further by stating a situation and seeing if your child can think of an emotion that corresponds to it.  For example, “I’m going to a birthday party!” or “I just fell from the chair.”  Take turns stating situations and creating their corresponding expressions.

Childhood is an emotional time.  Being there with your child to experience the ups and downs helps make everything easier.  Let your child know that she can ask you anything and that you will always be there to help him or her with his or her feelings.


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