Supporting Young Children's Emotional Awareness at Home Through Play
How do you support young children and their mental health through this tremendously different and unusual time? The first thought that comes to mind is having empathy, or understanding how they are feeling and responding appropriately. But what if your child is too young to really understand their emotions, where do you start then?
Try this, grab any inanimate objects from around the house- basic shapes such as bottle tops, balls, string, crayons, whatever you may find. Challenge your child with different emotions. Ask
them to create a happy face, then a sad face, and cover a range of emotions, using the items in front of them. You can create a face too. Use this opportunity to talk to your child about the emotion they are portraying, when do you feel this way? Can you make a face that’s happy? Sad? This is a great way to help your child start to identify their emotions in a fun way and be able to label them later on when they experience them. You can even grab a mirror for your little one to explore how their face looks when they are making the faces to match an emotion. Ask questions like how do your eye brows look when you are surprised? What does your mouth do when you are sad? This activity will begin to teach your child emotional intelligence even at the ages of 2 and 3 years old! A great extension is to bring this activity to different items such as
food, items found outside, or even just drawings made with a pencil and paper.