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Talking About Your Feelings

Bite-sized brain snacks for Chicago’s early learners.

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Drawing a picture first can be a good way for a child to begin to identify and reflect on her feelings. Prompt your child to talk about those feelings by asking questions such as: I notice you look angry in that picture. Why were you angry? Can you tell me about it? How did that make you feel? What did you do when you felt that way? Did that make you feel better?

Why It's Important

It's important that children learn that it's okay to have feelings. Anger, sadness, and frustration are emotions that everyone has sometimes. What matters most is how we choose to deal with those feelings. Helping your child learn to acknowledge a feeling is the first step to learning how to manage it.

Journal/Talk:

Make a feelings book with your child. On each page, write the name of a different feeling or emotion. Have your child write or draw a picture of something that makes your child feel that way.

Not Ready Yet

Sometimes it's hard to put how we feel into words. After your child describes what happened, tell your child how you might feel in that situation. For example, you might say, "That would really hurt my feelings if someone did that to me. I would feel sad. Did that make you feel sad?"

Need a Challenge

Talking about your own feelings might be simple, but considering the feelings of others can be more difficult. Ask your child to tell you how the other children involved might have been feeling.

Book Recommendations:

"In My Heart: A Book of Feelings" by Jo Witek

Extend the learning:

Make talking about feelings a normal part of your everyday routine. Start a new dinnertime tradition of sharing your "highs" and "lows." Go around the table and have each family member share about something that made them feel really happy or proud that day and something that made them feel upset or disappointed.