How do you incorporate Emotional Literacy into your home and parenting?
Teaching Emotional Literacy skills is taking every day opportunities to discuss feelings. Giving a commentary on your own feelings and what you are doing to cope with it helps, although you can feel rather silly at first! For example, “I feel angry and stressed because we are late leaving for school today, I am going to take some deep breaths and that will help the cranky feeling in my tummy to go away”, not only does that name an emotion, it shows your child that it’s OK to feel that way (as even grown-ups do). It gives them permission to do the same, and it also models a strategy for them to be able to deal with it.
Exploring emotions in a safe place through stories and playing with toys and puppets allows children to explore them whilst they are not in the midst of an emotional breakout and these techniques are invaluable in teaching strategies. Children often open up to a puppet in a way that they can’t to a real person; I’ve seen it time and time again and it never fails to blow my mind how something so simple can make such a difference.
We want to protect our children but we can’t do that by protecting them from difficult emotions, all emotions are so closely entwined and they rely on each other. Just think of the scene in Disney’s ‘Inside Out’ film where Joy realises that she actually needs Sadness.
The only way we can protect our children is by doing our best, by opening them up to their feelings and helping them to learn to deal with them, as a parent that never stops.
Be open, be honest and try to understand. As they get older it really could make all the difference in their life and their learning, but also their health.