Preschoolers and young children deal with many of the same emotions adults do. They can feel angry, sad, frustrated, nervous, happy, or embarrassed, but they often do not have the words to talk about how they feel.
In addition to the individualized support your child receives from nurturing teachers, you can take steps at home to help preschoolers with their feelings.
Teaching Emotional Awareness
Although it can be challenging to teach our kids about feelings, it will support them in their emotional maturity journey. This is an essential part of answering the call to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6).
Teaching children from a young age about their emotions is a valuable investment because their feelings will impact every choice they make.
Strategies To Help Your Preschooler Identify And Express Feelings:
When it comes to helping our preschoolers recognize their feelings, we can use strategies to teach them:
1. Ask your child how they feel
You don’t have to wait for the perfect moment to help your child understand emotions. Make asking them how they feel part of your everyday practice. When you ask them how they feel, you can discuss your child’s feelings and what actions created that feeling.
2. Point out and name their feelings
Children can learn emotions like happy, sad, mad, and scared as early as two years old. As their parent, you can your child better identify their emotions by pointing them out and naming them.
You could say, “You look like you feel happy when we’re visiting the park.” This helps your child develop an emotional vocabulary, enabling them to eventually identify their feelings on their own and talk about them.
3. Discuss feelings in stories
When you watch shows, read books, or sing songs with your child, you can point out clues that show how the characters feel. Explaining emotions in the characters creates an opportunity to explain why they feel the way they feel.
And books like “Little Monkey Calms Down,” can also strengthen your child’s abilities to express and manage their emotions appropriately.
4. Encourage Empathy
Young children think that the world revolves only around them. So, teaching empathy is a critical life lesson.
Talking about other people’s feelings is a great way to teach empathy. If your child does something hurtful to someone else, help your child understand how their actions might have made others feel. When your kid understands their actions and words can be hurtful to someone else, they will be less likely to continue that behavior.
5. Model Healthy Emotional Awareness
Children are always watching us. And just like sponges, they soak everything up, both good and bad. Because kids are watching and learning, families and teachers are incredibly influential in demonstrating how kids should identify, understand, and express their feelings.
By calling attention to your feelings and talking about them with your child, you can help them understand and name their own emotions.
6. Praise Progress
When your child uses their words instead of actions to express their feelings, take time to praise them! Positive reinforcement of your child’s progress encourages them to continue expressing themselves appropriately.
Praising your child’s progress also gives them the assurance that you are paying attention to them and giving them your encouragement. By using positive guidance, you can help your child learn that it’s okay to feel their feelings, but that they need to express them appropriately.
7. Not Right or Wrong
Don’t diminish children for their feelings. Otherwise, you teach them that emotions are bad or should be hidden.
In Ephesians 4:6, we read, “In your anger do not sin.” According to Paul, anger only precedes sinful behavior. So negative actions done in anger can be a sin, but actually feeling anger as an emotion is entirely normal and acceptable.
Learning Emotions During Preschool At Hillsdale Christian Academy
Preschool is an opportunity for children to learn and develop the skills needed to succeed in school. Our preschool in Tampa, FL, provides a strong foundation for more formal instruction in Kindergarten through 8th grade. Plan your visit to Hillsdale Christian Academy today to experience our school and meet our teachers.