How Do You Feel Today?

How do you feel today?

How do you feel today?

If you’re feeling happy then clap your hands

Feeling happy then clap your hands

Feeling happy then clap your hands

Clap your hands like this.

How do you feel today?

How do you feel today?

If you’re feeling grumpy then stomp around

Feeling grumpy then stomp around

Feeling grumpy then stomp around

Stomp around like this.

We talk a lot about feelings in our home.  Feelings are tricky things to deal with, but it’s much healthier to learn to deal with them than to pretend we all feel happy all the time.  ‘Cause let’s face it – we don’t.  Some days Daddy feels sad.  Some days I am irritable.  Some days the kids are out-of-sorts without any particular reason.  And all of those things are ok.

Without making a big deal about it, I try to give the kids practical tools to deal with their own feelings, and the emotions of others.  It’s important that they learn to name their feelings, and that they feel safe enough to share their feelings.  Of course, this is all good in theory! I can’t say I always get it right, but I am aware that it is part of my responsibility as their mother.  Here are some phrases I try to use, and some I try to avoid when it comes to feelings.

Things I DO say to the kids:

  • How do you feel today?
  • Would you like to tell me about your feelings?
  • I can see that you are sad/angry/etc. Can you use your words to talk to me about it?
  • Is anything worrying you?
  • It’s ok to feel angry, but it’s not ok to let your anger hurt anyone else.
  • It’s ok to feel sad. Is there anything I can do to help?

Things I DON’T say to the kids:

  • What’s wrong with you?
  • Cheer up.
  • That’s not worth crying about.
  • Do ___________ and you’ll feel better.
  • Don’t be silly.

How do you deal with your children’s feelings? Do you find talking about feelings difficult?  Which phrases work for you and your kids, and which ones do you avoid saying?



12 thoughts on “How Do You Feel Today?

  1. This is such an important part of our parenting lives but it’s so hard to manage well. I ended up making an emotions chart to help the kids recognise what they’re feeling and what they can do with those emotions. Funnily, it helps me too!

  2. I think part of the reason parents tend to play down or brush off children’s feelings is because we feel badly when they feel badly! Especially when they can’t even tell us why they feel that way.

    I actually have a hands on learning game on how to help your child learn about feelings: http://teachingthefuture.net/?p=451. I find it a helpful way of teaching kids about feelings when you’re not in the heat of the moment…

  3. A great message for all of us. My little man left the house singing a song about having “so many feelings today”, so we discussed all the feelings we could have (at care) today, while we were in the car.

  4. I love this, I’m going to try and implement it. We talk about best ways to handle emotions, especially anger and frustration, but usually only after it’s all gone wrong.

  5. Lovely post Cath.
    We try our best to have this kind of language in our house too. Can be challenging, especially in the heat of the moment, but it’s so important for our children to know that it’s okay to feel angry/sad/scared as well as happy. We have the whole series of “When I’m Feeling” books and they get lots of use in our house!

  6. Thanks for this Cath. I always need this reminder. I am guilty of the “don’t be silly” reaction in the heat of the moment. I need to remind myself that although something seems silly or insignificant to me, it doesn’t feel that way as a 3 year old.

  7. I never thought how I approach feelings with my son until I read this post. He was looking a bit sad and down today so I made sure I asked how he was feeling. Sometimes we need a good reminder to think about the things we do everyday without actually thinking about them!

  8. Thank you! I know this, but I really needed the reminder right now. We’ve had a bit of school holiday squabbling last few days, and I’ve been a bit guilty of playing down how they’re feeling and trying to jolly them past it

  9. These are very helpful tips on dealing with children’s feelings. I think that showing them that it is okay and there is nothing to be ashamed of on sharing how they feel would increase their self-esteem. It is always important to be sensitive on what we say and do to a child.

  10. I think you asked the right questions, it is important to talk about feelings so we know how to deal with them rather than ignore them, feelings are like the signs, only need to pay attention to them.

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