Time for a game!
A focus on different emotions and feelings in a practical game played together or in a group
Encourage your child to really act out what it feels like to feel a certain way.
What does angry look like? What does sad look like? What does happy and excited look like?
Walk around your living room or garden acting these emotions out. Say to your child, “lets’ all pretend to be angry” and then walk or skip around acting this out and then change to “now let’s all pretend to be happy” and change the emotions after about 20 seconds.
This gives your child the feeling that it’s ok to feel different feelings and that it’s safe to show how they feel.
It also allows them to get in touch with those feelings and know how they feel in their body.
You can ask: “When you act out angry/sad/happy (choose the emotion) Jacob where do you feel it in your body?”
If the answer is, “I don’t know…”
You can ask: “OK that’s fine. If you did know where do you feel it might be?”
This gives a child the safe place to express through imagination. It is most likely that this ‘imagination’ is actually their awareness and knowing but it just makes your child feel safer to express this.
Let your child know how the game is going to work from the beginning. Children are more likely to comply and follow a game if they know what is coming. Explain that for 20 seconds you are going to all act this feeling and then you will be changing to another one.
Ask your child if they can think of an emotion that they would like to act out too. This can also give you some insight into how they may be feeling in a safe, non-intrusive space.
Always remember to finish on a positive feeling so that you are leaving you and your child in a happy, relaxed state of mind and feeling. Ensure that the last 2-3 emotions that are acted out are ‘happy’ or ‘relaxed’ for instance.