The coronavirus pandemic has many people feeling stressed or overwhelmed. We’re in a unique crisis situation that can have all of our emotions out of whack. Your children probably have those same thoughts and feelings, but may find it difficult to express them appropriately. We are dealing with unprecedented times across our country and it’s more important than ever for your kids to know exactly what’s going on inside of them. It’s also vital for them to understand and vocalize their emotions, recognize the thoughts behind what makes them happy or sad or scared or stressed. Here are three ways to help your kids process their emotions.
CREATE THOUGHT-FEELING EMOJI GAME
Print and cut out “emoji’s” representing different emotions. You can have your children write on the back of each emoji cut out what thought makes them feel that way (e.g. cut out a happy face emoji and have your child write on the back (or you do it for them) what thought makes them feel happy, etc.). Cut out a variety of emojis (including sad or afraid faces) and have your child “process” what thoughts make them feel those emotions by writing out what makes them feel that particular emotion. This is a great way to help them “think about what they’re thinking about” throughout this challenging time.
PLAY THE “UP AND DOWN” EXERCISE GAME
To help your children understand that thoughts and feelings take us “up or down” have your kids sit on the floor. Have the leader grab the emoji cut outs that you’ve made and show an emotion. If the emotion is positive (e.g.: happy, excited, love) have everyone jump up. If the emotion is negative (e.g.: sad, afraid, angry), have everyone sit down (or fall down to the ground). Continue playing until everyone is exhausted! You can add the element of thinking by having everyone shout out what thoughts are making them feel positive or negative. Be sure to end this game on a positive note.
DEVELOP A DAILY EMOTION CHECK-IN ROUTINE
Before you go to bed for the night, spend some time with your children doing an “emotion check-in.” Ask your children what thoughts they’ve had during that day that made them feel happy or sad, scared or anxious. This is a perfect time to sort, process, examine, and validate your kids’ feelings. Remember to leave this time on a positive, loving note to help them sleep peacefully through the night. At the end of the day, it’s all about recognizing and understanding emotions and finding peace, which is more important now than ever in the midst of this global pandemic.
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