Join wellbeing coach, teacher and childrens author, Tanya Leary as she takes us through the day with a range of fun, engaging and energetic activities all about our feelings. Tanya is a mum of two girls and has worked with children and families for over 20 years in various roles and now delivers workshops and wellbeing sessions to children and their grownups through her company TLC; Tanya Leary Cares. Tanya wrote her book 'Time for Bed, Baby' to encourage self-care in new parents and prevent PND. She passionately believes that helping children to understand and articulate their emotions at a young age enables them to grow up into emotionally intelligent and empathic adults who are better equipped to maintain good mental health. Tanya is also the Director of a Community Interest Company; Rethink Now who create and run community based projects to make spaces cleaner and greener and the residents healthier and happier.
What is that feeling?
Feelings –How many feelings can you name?
List as many as you can with your grown up.
(Ones we will be focusing on today- Happy, sad, excited, scared and angry.)
Stand opposite your grown up, choose a feeling and then each pull a face and do an action to show that feeling- the funnier or sillier the better!
Can your grown up copy you? Can you copy them?
How does your body feel when you have these feelings?
Can you think of any describing words?
Can you draw any of those feelings?
Do they have a shape or a colour?
The purpose of this exercise is to help develop a wide range of emotional vocabulary. The more words a child has to describe and articulate their feelings and emotions the better. People are able to work through their feelings more easily if they have the language to share and explain them to others and this helps reduce feelings of frustration too.
The Feelings Song
This is the perfect opportunity to get up and have a boogie. You will know the song but we’ve changed some of the words to talk about the importance of sharing your feelings with people.
See if you can think up anymore verses for different feelings. I would love to see them if you do.
Why not take a video and tag me using the hashtag #feelingssong if you do.
The Feelings Gingerbread
When we experience big emotions, they often cause physical feelings too. We might feel hot or shaky or notice we breathe differently.
Recognising this adds another layer of understanding to how our feelings and emotions affect us. Talking about this and giving the feelings a name or describing word or colour can really help children share their feelings. For example they might feel fizzy in their tummy if they are excited or they might say that they feel like screaming, it might feel like a colour or a shape or a type of weather. Whatever words or terminology they use is ok- we want them to own their emotions.
Try to pull out as much description as you can and then refer back to their gingerbread next time they are experiencing something but are struggling to explain or express it.
You can add to this over time and share how your emotions make your body feel too. The more we normalise feelings (in an age appropriate way) the easier it is for kids to understand that everyone on earth experiences a wide range of emotions every day.
Growing a gratitude garden
I love this activity and talking about the little (and large) things that we are grateful for and that fill us with joy.
Asking each family member to share 3 things that they feel grateful for over dinner or before bed is a lovely way to connect and also encourage gratitude even on more challenging days.
Getting into this habit is a brilliant way to grow gratitude, develop emotional literacy and help children develop the confidence and tools to be able to explain and articulate their feelings from a really young age.
The gratitude garden activity can be a one off or one that you add to any time the mood takes.
If you've finished these and still have time for fun...
Some days, no matter what we try emotions are running high and our little people struggle to manage big feelings- this is a really helpful tool for days like those.
Having a visual focus when your little one is feeling overwhelmed with feelings acts as a great distraction and helps with regulating their breathing to bring some calm back.
Use this jar whenever your thoughts and feelings feel a bit jumbly or you need some time out.
SHAKE- Give the jar a really really good shake.
SWIRL- Watch as the glitter and stars swirl around – these are like your thoughts when you’re feeling cross/angry/upset/frustrated
BREATHE- As you watch the swirling glitter breathe in through your nose and then out through your mouth. Carry on until the glitter settles or however long you need
This is a perfect activity for the end of the day if you want to relax with your child and begin your end of day wind down.
Get your pyjamas on and grab a special cuddly toy or blanket. You can come back when you’re ready to rest and relax.