Expressing Emotions and Feelings
Emotions play an important role in social interactions and communication and it's important for every individual to be able to understand and express their emotions. Teaching your child to express emotions is as important as it is complicated to teach. Feelings and emotions are a complex and abstract concept which makes it difficult to teach. They are internal states of mind which needs to be experienced and felt by the child, and hence are challenging to "teach" as concepts.
Give them experiences to help them understand the various emotions. When you talk about the child's emotions during the experience. This will help the child associate the emotion with that experience and will help them identify and understand the concept better.
Vocabulary in Avaz
Basic > feelings
happy, sad, angry, sick, hungry, sleepy, bored, scared
Note: The vocabulary organization shown below is as per Avaz India app.
Advanced > feel
> happy, sad, angry, upset, excited, bored, funny, scared, lazy, sick, hungry, sleepy, tired, etc.
How to teach emotions
Means to teach emotions
You can teach the various emotions through various means:
1. Picture cards
Use picture cards / flash cards that you may, to talk about various emotions. Explain how these emotions are displayed.
Show different pictures of happy faces and explain how we express happiness through various kinds of body language - When we are happy we are smiling and laughing, and showing our teeth. When we are happy we are dancing, or singing. etc.
2. Facial gestures
Show with your own facial gestures and expressions the various emotions. Express it through your eyes (enlarged eyes for anger), eyebrows (narrowed eyebrows for anger), mouth( pouting for sadness) etc.
3. Own photos
Take your child's photo when they are happy and smiling and explain it to them to help them associate the "feeling" with the emotion and the word. E.g.
"I can see you are smiling when you are playing with the balloon. You look happy!"
4. Story-telling through books
Choose stories that display emotions. E.g. hare and tortoise - "See the hare - he must be feeling sad when he lost the race. Look at the tortoise - he must be happy because he won."
5. Discuss emotions while watching TV shows or videos
Talk about the emotions of the characters while watching the shows together. Choose shows that display emotions.
6. Take videos
Take a video of yourself or other members of the family while they are happy - e.g. during their birthday, cake cutting, playing with friends etc. Talk about it later while watching the video
"You are having fun playing with the doggie. You are happy."
"The doggie is snarling when you took his food away. He is angry."
5. Role play
During role play you can pretend to be a person who is happy for a particular reason.
E.g. "I am your teacher and you answered correctly in class. I am happy and clapping for you."
that you are playing the role of a person or a character in a story that has a happy event.
E.g. "I am the teacher. You have finished your work! Very good, I am happy. "
Create a story with different characters and enact a drama with emotions.
E.g. "This boy is feeling sad because he has lost his dog."
6. Create more opportunities during the day to express various emotions
Create opportunities for making the child feel sad. E.g. hide their favourite toy and say:
"You are sad that your toy is lost".
After pretending to search for it and finding it, you can say:
"You are happy that we have found the toy".
Model the words accordingly.
Use events such as birthdays, weddings, anniversary celebrations, baby showers, or other get-togethers to highlight the child's, family members' and other people's emotions.
E.g. Look at Sara - she is happy and smiling because she is playing with all her friends.
8. Discuss the day at Bedtime
Develop a bedtime routine to express your feelings about how the day went. Likewise, ask about the child's emotions too. Help the child recall some of the incidents during the day and associating them with key emotions. This way, the child will be able to start recognizing their own emotions better, with more thought given to it on a regular basis.
9. Vent your feelings
Use self-talk to share your own feelings (click here for How to use self-talk to model) - this not only helps you vent and share your feelings, but also helps your child relate to it better. E.g. :
"I am feeling tired today after cleaning up the kitchen."
"I am feeling excited that tomorrow is your birthday."
"Look at Anita - she is happy when we were singing "Happy birthday" song for her."
Sample situations to teach emotions
Explain the various expressions of each emotion, to help them associate the emotion with the word.
Expression of the emotion through body language
Smiling / laughing
You are happy when you get an ice-cream,
You are happy when you win a game
You are happy when you play with your favourite toy or game
Your sister is watching her favourite cartoon. She looks happy
You got a gift for your birthday. You look happy!
No smile on the face
It is raining. You look sad because you can't go out now.
The shop is closed. You look sad that we can't buy the toy.
Oh no! The ice-cream dropped on the floor. You are sad that you can't eat it.
Your brother is crying because he had a fall. He is sad.
Your sister has a frown when her friend did not come home. She looks sad.
I am when we are not able to watch TV because it's under repair.
Face not smiling
Eyebrows are together
Loud tone of voice that doesn't sound nice
Mummy is angry when your room is dirty
You did not finish your food. Look at Daddy's face. He looks angry.
I don't like it when you fight with brother or sister. I am angry.
You are trying to pull the toy from your friend. You are angry since he is not sharing his toys.
You grabbed the ice-cream from your brother's hands. He is trying to push you - he is angry.
You are angry when I tell NO to pizza.
You don't have your toys to play with. You look bored.
Your sister looks bored because she has no friends to play with.
The dog is hiding under the bed when he hears thunder, he must be scared.
When the lights go off. You may be scared because you can't see anything.
Your sister closed her ears when the balloon bursts with a pop sound. She must be scared of the sound.
I am scared when I hear the sound of fireworks.
The movie tickets got sold out. You must be disappointed!
Your father was disappointed when he lost the tennis match.
When our holiday plans got cancelled, your brother stared crying. He must be disappointed.
Your sister lost the game. Her mouth is drooping. She looks disappointed.
Hold your head (headache) Hold on to stomach (stomach ache)
and show a pained face
While the child is having any sort of pain, use the opportunity to explain the pain with the help of Avaz by modelling the word "pain" along along with the appropriate body part symbol.
You can also pretend to fall and get hurt and express pain using Avaz.
Your head is hurting. You are having a head ache.
You are holding your stomach. You are having stomach pain.
You had a fall. There is blood in your knee. Your knee must be paining.
You are coughing / Your throat is sore. You must be having throat pain.
Feel like eating food
At specific times
When you are hungry your stomach makes noises.
The baby is crying. She must be hungry.
I see you taking the banana. You must be soo hungry.
When you are hungry, you want to eat food immediately.
Are you hungry? Do you want to eat now?
Don't try to teach emotions, when the child is going through a meltdown. Teach the concepts when the child is in a happy and receptive state of mind.