We can start teaching our young children about emotions by helping them name their feelings. For example, if your child is enjoying riding her sled down a snowy hill, you could say: “I see you are smiling and looking like you are having fun on your sled. I think you are feeling happy?” Reading books together is another time when you can label feelings: “How do you think the Little Engine That Could felt when he finally made it over the mountain after trying so hard?” You can also try to help your child identify feelings in others: “Jake dropped his ice cream cone on the ground and now he can’t eat it. I think he’s feeling sad and disappointed.” Pointing out that someone’s face can tell us what emotion she is feeling is also helpful. You can make a Guess the Feeling game out of looking at faces in books and videos, or play Guess this Face by making faces yourself and letting your child guess what feeling you are trying to portray. Children who can name their emotions are one step closer to being able to deal with their feelings in appropriate ways.
This publication was produced in part by funds from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement, Parental Information & Resource Center Program, under grant #84.310A. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Education, any other agency of the U.S. Government, or any other source.
This publication is also funded in part under a contract with the Montana Children’s Trust Fund Board. The statements herein do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the MT CTF Board.