Exploring emotions

Helping Your Young Child Feel and Understand Their Feelings

We all know that emotions like love and gratitude are fun and beneficial, but what about emotions like fear, worry or jealousy? Believe it or not, all our feelings serve a purpose. I say “believe it or not” because maybe, like me, you may have grown up believing that being scared is a bad thing and something to be avoided. Fear certainly does feel uncomfortable, doesn’t it? But what if I told you that you could make friends with fear?  The following is an excerpt from the Reader’s Note in our new book Feel Your Feelings. It explains the basic concept of the book and why scary emotions are our friends. Why being scared (or afraid) is a good thing Feel Your Feelings introduces children to basic emotions with fun poems that they can act out from head to toe. They will learn that emotions are our friends. Some emotions show us what we love, others protect us from harm, and all of them put together, like colors on an artist’s palette, paint a beautiful picture of life. This simple book about learning how to identify and accept the emotions you have creates a safe place for children to act out a variety of feelings. Having feelings is part of being a human being, but learning how to feel your feelings is part of being a healthy and wise human being. Teaching children to recognize and appreciate all their feelings is a wonderful gift a parent, teacher, or caregiver can give. The basic concept of feeling your feelings There is no such thing as a good or bad feeling. An emotion may feel bad — or as we like to say, “uncomfortable” — but that doesn’t mean it is a bad emotion to have or that we should try to avoid having uncomfortable feelings. Every feeling has a purpose! Every feeling is your friend. Some emotions teach us what we are passionate about, and some emotions teach us which dangers to avoid. Emotions are the spice of life. They are what motivate us and help form our moral compass. Why we label emotions as bad One reason we label emotions as bad is that they can lead to emotional outbursts. It’s as if you have a friend called “Scared” knocking on the door trying to warn you there is a fire outside, but you’re too scared to open the door. So, the knocking gets louder and more frantic until Scared bursts into the room and, suddenly, everyone is panicking because the room is on fire. But what if we could open the door a lot sooner and ask Scared, “What’s the problem?” Scared might say, “I’m here to help. Please don’t panic. There is fire, and we need to calmly exit the building and call for help.” If we never open the door to our emotions, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and even physical illness. When children understand how they are feeling and feel safe expressing themselves, it

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Helping Your Young Child Feel and Understand Their Feelings 2022-05-03T19:06:48-04:00

Rev Up Social Emotional Learning with Moody Moody Cars

Moody Moody Cars by Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD with photographs by Michael Furman is a rhyming picture book that shares various expressive classic cars and invites readers to figure out the emotions, from excited to angry and more, behind the facial expressions. This book provides a playful, approachable way to teach kids about feelings and emotions and to develop an essential skill as kids travel along in their social world. Here’s an excerpt from the Reader’s Note: Understanding facial expressions of emotions is an essential skill that helps children navigate the natural world. It allows children to know, for example, when a sibling is annoyed, a parent sees danger, or a classmate wants to be friends. One study showed that a child’s ability to interpret facial emotions at five years of age predicts how well they do socially and academically –even four years later. Research also shows that talking about feelings and practicing labeling them can help children increase their understanding of emotions. Look for opportunities to talk about emotions in books, movies, and daily life. ...a child’s ability to interpret facial emotions at five years of age predicts how well they do socially and academically –even four years later. Eye tracking studies show that babies are very interested in faces–they’ll stare at two dots and a curve arranged like a face longer than any other arrangement–but it takes children a surprisingly long time to develop the ability to recognize specific emotions.  For example: At two years old, children are only able to categorize emotions as happy or not.  Around age four, they can accurately categorize angry faces and distinguish them from other negative emotions. Between ages five and ten, children’s ability to accurately and quickly identify facial expressions and identify less intense emotions continues to develop. Learning to understand emotions may be especially important for boys. Too often, boys (and men) get the message that emotions are “girly” and therefore not for them. But boys have feelings, too! As infants, boys are more expressive than girls, but by five or six years old, boys are less likely to express hurt or distress.  Moody Moody Cars is a fun way to help children develop emotional literacy, which is the ability to read feelings in ourselves and others. It is based on pareidolia – the human tendency to see faces in things. Most children ages 4 and up know that cars don’t really have feelings, but it’s entertaining and intriguing to see how these cars look as though they do! Figuring out the cars’ emotions can help your child learn to recognize, label, and talk about these common emotions.  Check out the Educator’s Guide for questions to ask before, during and after reading, as well as activities to do and games to play when sharing Moody Moody Cars.  Here's a video of Dr. Kennedy-Moore explaining the importance of understanding emotions.

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Rev Up Social Emotional Learning with Moody Moody Cars 2022-04-27T13:56:52-04:00