We can all find it difficult to deal with our emotions at times and this is especially true for children. Feelings of anxiety, stress, sadness, and worry are very normal but if we do not give our children the tools to openly discuss and deal with these feelings they can build and become much more serious. We would like to share with you some of the games, activities, and strategies we use within our settings to support children’s emotional needs.
Emotion cubes and flashcards are a fantastic way to get children talking about their emotions. Each side of the cube or flashcard can either show different emotional faces or the emotion itself. Take turns in your family to roll the cube/pick a card and describe a time when you felt the emotion. By talking about the emotions we feel as adults in front of our children we are also helping to encourage open communication as they grow.
Another wonderful way to encourage open conversations in children is to reflect on your day as a family. This could be at the dinner table or part of your bedtime routine. Take it in turns to talk about your favourite and least favourite part of your day, ask each other questions and if a situation arises that someone has felt before you can discuss solutions or coping strategies that may have worked to better a situation. This makes talking about negative experiences as easy as good ones and shows that a problem shared is a problem halved.
Acts of kindness are fantastic for our mental health. We get what is described as “helpers high”, this is due to the increase of dopamine into our system, which is described as the happy hormone. Acts of kindness to us, by us and even witnessed can give us this high. We have created a kindness Calendar and chart for you to download. The Calendar is full of great acts of kindness that you can include in your daily life and our Kindness chart encourages children to think of their own acts of kindness, fill out the chart and at the end earn a reward. You can talk to children about how they feel when people are kind to them and encourage them to spread that feeling around.
Being open about our feelings and emotions can be difficult so why not incorporate it into play. With your child and their toys, set out scenarios in which certain emotions would arise. By doing this through play children relax and this can often lead to open conversations that may not have arisen otherwise.
It is so important, now more than ever, to support our children and their emotional needs. By doing this we will raise our children to be resilient, confident, and self-aware. We hope this blog has helped with giving you activities and strategies to try at home.
Please feel free to make use of the resources we have to offer below by downloading and printing.
Did you know our Spring Nursery Managers are all mental health first aid trained?