Now more than ever, especially with all of the extra “together time,” parents are asking the age-old question. “How can I help my child understand different emotions?” One fantastic tool for helping kids understand emotions is using an emotions chart.
You may have noticed some strong feelings in your child and even moments when their emotions seem to change in a matter of seconds.
As a parent, you are the very best person to teach your young one about feelings. This is because you are their natural safe place. Your unconditional love creates a basis for quality conversations. Furthermore, it creates a trial and error for them to learn from.
A good emotion chart can not only teach your child to identify emotions, but also provide the stepping stones for insightful conversations.
Feelings to include In Your Kid’s Chart Of Emotions
Young children experience many of the same emotions we do as adults. For example, even preschool students experience feelings such as anger, sadness, frustration, nervousness, happiness, and embarrassment. The main difference is that we, as adults, are more experienced in identifying and managing these different emotions.
As your kiddo grows older and matures, they will become more and more prepared to discuss more specific emotions and identify their causes. So, include feelings that encourage their character development, promote understanding, and verbalizing their feelings. These are the type of social skills that will last them a lifetime and set them up for success in school and beyond!
Let’s see how one of the best tools in your toolbox for encouraging social-emotional growth is the chart of feelings.
Opportunities For Kids To Use an Emotions chart
All of us wake up every day feeling a bit different. As an adult, you roughly know how your day will turn out according to how you feel when you wake up, right?
Well, it’s tricky for kids to recognize some perceptions- and sometimes they get mixed up. For example, your daughter may think she’s feeling sad for no reason. In fact, she may actually be feeling guilty about that tantrum she threw last night before bed. Your son may think he’s feeling angry when he’s really just missing his sister who is away for a sleepover.
Often, children misidentify their feelings. This takes the form of oversimplifying or sometimes choosing to express the emotion that is more comfortable. For example, for children who are uncomfortable with showing vulnerability, anger may be a preferable emotion to display rather than sadness. Just as feelings can be complicated for us as adults, they are difficult for children as well.
One way that you can incorporate the feelings chart into your parenting is by making its use part of your morning routine. This is a great way to get the day started and get your kid off on the right foot, expressing themself and identifying their needs.
Making the feelings chart part of the morning routine will help provide the words for your child to talk about his or her feelings. And when your little tike is mad, irritated, or finding difficult to talk, He can use the words written on the page or the visuals to nonverbally communicate by pointing. I’m sure you can think of a time (even in your adult experience) when you would have liked this option as a way to express yourself.
Feeling charts can be a great asset to your time-in toolkit. When you experience a temper tantrum or your toddler is having behavior problems likely caused by strong emotions, spending some time in a safe space, or a calming corner is a solution that many families find very effective. Similar strategies are used in classrooms, particularly for young children. Emotions cards for kids located in this calming corner can be a great tool for you and your little one when you debrief after passions have de-escalated, for example. I highly recommend having a feelings chart available for your little one to reflect on how he or she was feeling during the tantrum or when the negative behavior occurred.
Types Of Emotions Charts For Kids
There are many different types of emotion charts for kids. Each has its own set of strengths. It’s really about finding a good fit for you and your youngster. Even if you have two sons similar in age, you may find that one works best for one son while another is more effective for the other.
Feelings Thermometer Chart
Feelings Wheel Chart
Another popular type of emotions chart for kids is the emotions wheel. This can sometimes be a fun tool for children as they may associate the wheel shape with games they’ve learned to enjoy.
The mood wheel can feature a wide variety of feelings for your bud to choose from, which will help him understand more about bigger emotions they may be experiencing.
This is a great tool for promoting mindfulness and can also lead to strategies for managing negative behavior. For a DIY mood wheel chart and other feelings charts, you will want to check these creative ideas by blogger Liska Myers.
Guess How I’m Feeling Chart
Another type that I have had success with personally and is similar to the guess who game is the guess how I’m feeling game. Hopefully, you’ve watched the video above, and now have an idea of how the “guess how I’m feeling chart ” works.
The chart contains cartoon characters showing different facial expressions, related to feelings your child might experience, in this case; happy, sad, and angry. While going over it with your kid, see how well they can guess the character’s emotions based on their expressions. Neat.
If you like this idea, we hope you enjoy the “guess how I’m feeling” worksheet, which you can have your kid fill out.Download Worksheet
I’ve provided just a small handful of sources for feelings charts. There are tons more available, both free and paid. However, there is one thing all of these charts have in common- they are not personalized. Kids learn best when things are relevant and relatable to their own lives. Particularly for young children, the most relevant thing of all is themselves.
How To Create a personalized Emotions Chart for your Kids?Well, it’s easier than you might think. You can either download the above chart templates (we created the templates for you to personalize) or create a new feelings chart to your liking. Then, all you need is an instant camera!
Have your preschooler make all of the “feeling” faces you’re choosing to use for your chart. Have fun with it! Play around, make silly faces, make the expressions yourself, invite your kid to look into the mirror, and compare their expression with the sample. Take photos of them exhibiting these emotions when the mood is relaxed and fun.
You can then create a collage using the pictures to make a feelings chart of your own on poster paper, in a framed picture, or even in the form of a book. This is a great way to personalize your child’s emotional learning by making your tools relevant. The personal touch will also serve as a reminder of the experience and encourage your chap to talk about his or her emotions with you. Remember, you are your child’s safe place and the best teacher of social and emotional skills.
Do you have a Lego-loving family? Use Lego mini-figures to create a feelings chart for kids or keep them available for your preschooler to demonstrate their reactions during difficult conversations.
Well, quite simply, children who are in touch with their emotions and able to identify and communicate their feelings with others grow into well-adjusted adults with good mental health. Think of how difficult your relationship with your life partner would be if you weren’t able to express your feelings. Nearly impossible, right? What if you had trouble appropriately expressing frustration? What if that unchecked frustration resulted in blow-ups (adult tantrums) with coworkers? It might be difficult to keep your job, right?
Childhood is the time to learn and develop social-emotional competence and problem-solving skills. And you, as your child’s parent, are the very best teacher. As someone who loves their cub unconditionally, you are best able to help them grow through their mistakes.
As a proactive parent, you probably know there are millions of books, thousands of positive parenting resources, and just tons of strategies in general for every area of parenting. There are experts, in-laws, and fellow parents. Everyone has an opinion on how you should parent your kid.
Well, I have a powerful way you can help develop social-emotional skills at home. One of the simplest solutions to practicing these skills is simply to play together. Playing with you, your schoolkid can see you modeling; turn-taking, negotiation skills, language, emotional expression, and so much more. And in turn, they can practice these same skills with a safe and forgiving play partner. Above all – remember that you are your child’s best social-emotional teacher. Know your power and embrace it!