There is no denying that the pandemic has been exceptionally tough on all parents. But the fact is that it has been especially difficult for your child. From being forced to stay indoors, to the constant craving of the physical touch of their friends, teachers, your children have had a hard time. And with most Singaporean parents coming out share their stress, it hasn’t been the same for our young ones. Children have not been able to describe their feelings and their struggles, and failed to put words to their feelings. If you think your child is going through the same, introduce feelings chart for kids.
A unique approach to helping children identify and manage their emotions, a feelings chart is extremely useful and can even be made at home.
Feelings Chart For Kids: How Does It Work?
Feelings wheel by Geoffrey Roberts | Image courtesy: Facebook
A feelings chart shows different feelings that your child may go through, throughout the day and the days of the week. It can be simply a chart or wheel that labels different feelings.
Generally, there are different variations of the chart, based on the intended audience. The Feelings Wheel created by Dr Gloria Willcox, gives you over 40 different feelings to choose from. On the other hand, you also have the option to choose a more simple feelings chart, that labels a few basic emotions.
Here’s how a feelings chart helps children
A feelings chart shows different feelings that your child may feel throughout the day and the days of the week | Image courtesy: iStock
As adults, you can often understand different emotions and also differentiate complex emotions. But your child may not. This gives rise to tension and stress since they cannot communicate their feelings.
In fact, strengthening your child’s emotion knowledge is one way to reduce their risk of developing anxiety and other emotional issues in the future. Learning to attach words and meaning to emotional cues help your child to label emotions and express them more effectively. As they grow up, so does their vocabulary of emotions, and they are able to express themselves better.
As a Cambridge study found: children who were better able to identify and label different emotions in first grade reported fewer anxiety symptoms and loneliness when they were in fifth grade.
Children who learn to express their feelings are more likely to:
- Have good mental health
- Display fewer behaviour problems
- Do better in school
- Be empathetic and supportive of others
- Develop healthy coping skills and resilience
- Have positive and stable relationships with others
Children need to understand how they are feeling, whether they are ‘angry’ or ‘frustrated’ and if they can’t, here’s why you may need a feelings chart.
How To Make And Use A Feelings Chart?
The feelings chart for kids can be made on a poster board or cardboard with markers, coloured pencils or crayons. You can create it with the child to reflect his/her personality and interests.
Here are a few things you can do while making the chart.
- Encourage your child to be involved in the design process
- Ask what feelings should be included
- Allow your child to decorate the chart as they wish- it is their feeling chart, after all.
- Use easy to understand emotive words. Your child needs to understand these before you can move on to more descriptive emotive words. For instance, use the word “mad” to describe irritation, anger, annoyance, frustration, and so on.
- After it is done, hang it in your child’s room and decide when you are going to review your child’s chart with him/her. Keep the chart at a place where the chart is easily accessible.
You can sit with your child to review the feelings chart at a time that is also suitable for your child. Some prefer just before going to bed.
Explain to them how it works and that any time throughout the day, your child can choose to put a face on the chart describing how they feel.
How To Make A DIY Feelings Chart For Kids
Here’s how you can make a feelings chart at home.
- Construction papers in various colours
- Adhesive velcro circles
- Laminator and laminating sheets
- On one piece of construction paper write ‘How I feel’
- On the smaller squares, then write the emotion-‘Happy’ or ‘Sad’ and then draw the corresponding faces
- Laminate these cut-outs, so that they don’t tear easily
- Put velcro at the back of the squares and on the ‘How I feel’ paper
- Hang it to a place where your child will be able to use it easily
Why You Must Encourage Your Child To Express Their Feelings
Sometimes as a parent, all you need to do is just stop and listen to your child. | Image courtesy: iStock
Your child may choose one face during the day or may choose many. Your role as a parent when you go through the feelings chart will not be to pacify their emotions or change the way they felt. Instead, validate their emotions.
You should see how your child learns to associate feelings with words. For instance, “You were furious about that” or “That made you very excited!” Now try to match your tone to their feeling. It will help them understand and associate better.
Children often feel chastised by their parents when trying to talk to them. So sometimes all you need to do is just stop and listen. For instance, your child tries to tell you she can’t handle her homework pressure. Listen to her, rather than advising her to complete it immediately. Sometimes they need to vent without receiving advice.
Give equal importance to both positive and negative emotions. Psychotherapist Dr Annette Nunez highlights that as a parent you should focus on positive feelings (like happy, surprised and excited) just as much as you focus on the negative emotions (like sadness and anger).
Learning how to identify and express feelings positively helps kids to develop the skills they need to manage them effectively. In order to help them express themselves better, as a parent, you need to share your own feelings throughout the day with your child.
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