There are many reasons why children have limited emotional skills: a parent may think the child is too young to learn emotional language, the child may not like to share feelings or the parents themselves may not be gifted in this area. No matter the cause, you and your child can learn the steps to improve emotional expression. They are:Good advice, and a great precursor to adoption talk. This is part of the vocabulary kids need to understand and process adoption.
1.Teach her the primary feeling words: happy, sad, mad, scared. Write each feeling word on a piece of paper; for elementary age and younger, draw or paste a feeling face picture to the corresponding feeling word. Post the paper in an eye-catching spot in your home.
2.Help him learn which facial expression matches each feeling word. For example, on your face show him a smile and raised eyebrows to display happy feelings whereas a furrowed brow and tight mouth display mad feelings. Make it a game; take turns showing a feeling face. Allow the other person to guess which feeling face was demonstrated. To keep your child’s attention, keep score and award a small prize or treat to the winner.
3.Encourage your child to express her feelings. Include verbal and nonverbal forms of communication. Some nonverbal ways to share feelings include writing, painting or drawing. Many families have a special alone time to talk about feelings. In the beginning ask your child to complete a sentence, such as: Today I feel happy/sad/mad/scared because . . .
4.Ask your child to communicate his feelings in the moment. When you notice your child experiencing feelings ask, “How are you feeling?” If he is unsure point it out to him, ie: “I see your big smile, are you happy?”
5.Give positive reinforcement for sharing. Even if your child isn’t accurate at first, recognize his attempts with praise. Remember, just like any new skill, time and practice improves performance.
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