Feelings, Whoa, whoa, whoa... Feelings.
“... we very often have little or no control over when we are swept by emotion, nor over what emotion it will be. But we can have some say in how long an emotion will last.” - Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence (1995)
I don’t know about you, but this photo pretty much sums-up where I am with the Covid -19 pandemic. I find myself regularly experiencing a host of different feelings and emotions in the space of just a few short minutes. Unchecked, these fluctuations can leave one feeling stressed and drained.
Children are not immune to these same fluctuations… in fact, they are highly sensitive and oftentimes feel them more acutely. While “social distancing” may prevent the cultivation of “social” skills, there’s plenty of time to focus on the “emotional”! One of the primary objectives of the Breadcrumbs Curriculum is to offer young children the vocabulary to identify a range of emotions and the ability to sort those feelings into two basic categories: those which support their overall health and well-being; and those that do not. Ultimately they learn to use a variety of tools to flow from “upset” to their natural “pre-set” with ease.
According to John Gottman, Ph.D., author of Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, the ability to feel, distinguish and label feelings and emotions helps the child to self-soothe, focus and calm down. Labeling “transforms an amorphous, scary, uncomfortable feeling into something definable, something that has boundaries and is a normal part of everyday life.” (p.99)
The books listed below are my favorites for helping young children to develop an emotional vocabulary: (If one of your favorites is not on the list, PLEASE, reach out to me and share, so that I may do the same!)
1. (2017). Making Faces - A First Book of Emotions, Abrams Appleseed, New York, NY.
This simple board book highlights 5 “feeling faces” for the very young. Mirror included!
2. Cain, Janan (2000). The Way I Feel, Parenting Press, Inc. Seattle, WA.
“Feelings come and feelings go.
I never know what they’ll be.
Silly or angry, happy or sad -
They’re all a part of me.”
3. Ismail, Yasmeen (2017). Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad, Laurence King Publishing, London, UK.
A cat, a dog and a donkey explore a range of feelings in this “Draw and Discover” book.
4. Kachenmeister, Cherryl (1989). On Monday When It Rained, Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston, MA.
“My sister said that monsters aren’t real, but this one... looked real to me. I was scared.”
Wonderful portrait photos chronicle a young boy’s week of real-life experiences and feelings.
5. Moniz, Madalena (2014). Today I Feel, Abrams Appleseed, New York, NY.
“Today I feel “B” Brilliant.”
This full alphabet of feelings is a perfect compliment to Lesson 15. It is beautifully illustrated and covers a range of feelings, not typically addressed.
6. Parr, Todd (2000). The Feelings Book, Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY.
“Sometimes I feel like doing nothing.”
This book’s colorful illustrations playfully capture a host of childhood wishes and feelings.
7. Seuss, Dr., (1996). My Many Colored Days, Alfred A, Knopf, New York, NY.
“On purple days I’m sad. I groan. I drag my tail. I walk alone.”
This beautifully illustrated, a-typical Dr. Seuss poem was published posthumously. It explores a palette of colors and associated feelings.
8. Witek, Jo (2013). In My Heart, La Martiniere Groupe, Paris, FR.
“My heart is full of feelings.”
This is a “must read” supplement to Breadcrumbs Lesson 13! It offers a wonderful extension of our discussion about how feelings manifest themselves in the body.