As adults, it’s pretty easy for us to express emotions. We can verbalize quite a bit.
For a child — even a tween or teen — it can be really hard!
Without life experience, language and experience frustrations can easily turn into anger and rage. Disappointment or sadness can easily turn into depression and resentment.
When we get upset at someone, it’s often because they didn’t respect our feelings. Maybe we were a bit off track but our feelings are still our feelings. When we try to hide our feelings from those we love, we often come off as not caring. When we seem like we don’t care about something or someone, that’s when real, long-lasting hurt can develop.
Teaching our children how to express emotions is vital.
And helping them to understand that ALL emotions show up for us at one time or another is key.
We can also support them in expressing their emotions through some fun family activities like the ones below.
Here are 5 Family Activities to Express Emotions:
The Talking Stick — We have always had one of these lovelies at our house and it’s one of my favorite things we’ve ever made together. It sits on our book shelf in the living room, waiting. The girls aren’t ready to use it much just yet but when we’ve had tough times, we’ve sat in a circle and who ever had the stick could share what was on their mind. Easy brilliance from the Native American culture.
Emotion Rocks — Help your child pick out some rocks and draw colors or pictures or words on them to help them express their emotions simply by pointing to a rock or picking it up and holding it or sharing it with a parent. This kind of non-verbal communication is so powerful for children who aren’t interested in speaking or who are not yet able.
Feelings Check in — I’ve probably written about this before, but I’ll use it again. On the way home from school — or anywhere for that matter — we often play a game we call the Feelings Check-in. This is when we talk about everything in our day that made us feel sad, happy, excited, anxious, mad, disappointed and jealous. My girls absolutely love this game, and they are in Kindergarten. I love this game, and I’m not in Kindergarten.
Get Musical — Few things stir emotions quite the way music does. Help your child find a song that reminds them of how they are feeling. A slow song for a sad day. A fast, joyful and dance-y song for a happy moment. A loud, boisterous song for an angry moment. Music can be so healing and help us get our emotions out more quickly. Works for parents, too!
Create Together — Being artistic together as a family can really be one of the most relaxing ways to connect and learn together. I love the idea of creating art and discussing emotions. We do this often at our house. But, we’re not alone. One of my FAVORITE activities when my girls were little was asking them What Color Was Your Day? Click to read more about this great concept for toddlers and pre-schoolers. You can also create a photo book using real pictures of your family members demonstrating real emotions. We’ve done this before and it’s a ton of fun.