There are many interactive games you can play with your child to encourage a strong emotional vocabulary…and a strong relationship too!
Last week, we discussed how to begin helping your child identify his emotions. I even included one of my favorite games to play with kids of all ages…The Mad, Sad, Glad Game!
Today, in part 2, we discuss a few more games you can play in order to increase your child’s emotional vocabulary.
Feelings Matching Game
This requires some simple prep. First, gather pictures of faces displaying various feelings. These can be found on the internet (ex. google images), in magazines, or hand drawn. You can even take pictures of your children making various feelings faces and use those. Then, make “cards” with the names of each of the feelings faces you have gathered. Finally, gather your children and have them match the feelings pictures to the feelings names.
With your child, take turns role-playing various situations in which emotions arise. Try to include a wide variety of emotions in your scenarios. Here’s a few examples to get you started:
*Asking for a cookie and being told “no.”
*You come home from school on your birthday and…”surprise!”…all of your friends and family are there…it’s your surprise birthday party!
*Your dog ran away last night.
Name a feeling and have your children…
*…Act it out
Everyone loves to make faces, right?
*…Draw it out
All you need are crayons, colored pencils, or markers and paper. Change it up a bit…would be even more fun on a chalkboard or dry erase board!
*…Make that face in the mirror
Little kids especially LOVE this one!
Browse through your old magazines and cut-out pictures of faces with different emotions. Have your child choose a picture, and tell a story about a time they felt the same way.
While the games presented today and the methods presented last week are simple, they are not easy for all of us. Many of us do not have extensive emotional vocabularies ourselves. If this is hard for you at first, keep practicing. It will become second nature soon. In the meantime, practice sharing your own feelings aloud around your child, as well as reflecting (out loud) the emotions your child experiences throughout the day…and throw in a game or two to keep it fun and interesting.
What games have you played to encourage your child’s emotional vocabulary?