Helping children explore their emotions – A review of the ‘Exploring Feelings’ resource pack from Language Box
Introduction and business details:
‘Exploring feelings’ digital resource pack, £9.99
Clued in with kids receive a 15% discount code off their Resource Pack: Use code Explore15
As first time parents, we understand the constant worrying about how we perceive the pace of our little ones language development. We were anxious as to why her friends ‘appeared’ to be ahead of the game. This resolved itself but now we face a new challenge. Like you, we are concerned that madam understands more about Covid than we realised and we worry about the impact of this on her mental health. We are also aware that she is apprehensive about starting school in September. Fortunately Language box can help with all of these issues i.e. concerns about language development, speech delays, handling emotions and more, either through the use of their downloadable resources or via an online consultation.
So who are Language Box?
Language box is an independent service providing private Speech and Language Therapy to children throughout Liverpool, Wirral and Merseyside via their team of specialists. Since lockdown the service has evolved to offer online/remote services, so Language box currently support families across the UK, no matter where you are based.
Therapists work with young people from the ages of 2 to 19 years of age with the goal of unlocking their communication potential by creating fun, motivating and easily accessible therapy ideas. Language Box help facilitate us as guardians with the knowledge and skills to develop our own strategies to support our children’s communication development.
We were sent the ‘Exploring Feelings’ resource pack to support our three year old in exploring her emotions and how she is adjusting to a new normal.
Resources are sent digitally. Here is a snapshot of what to expect.
What was in the pack?
The pack included a range of colourful, visually appealing and differentiated activities, perfect for introducing Pre School and Primary School children to the idea of emotions, and support them to manage their feelings. All activities come with easy to follow instructions.
We started with the colourful emotions cards, asking her to describe what she thought the characters e.g. clouds and the sun were feeling. We then took it in turn to pick an emotion card and as a family discussed which emotion character the statement belonged to and placed them down accordingly as shown below.
We loved that there was a question mark emotion card so if children didn’t know what a certain word meant e.g. lonely like our toddler, they could place it here. This in itself sparked some discussion, helping her explore new words for some of her feelings and further developing her vocabulary. As parents we learnt a lot about her even though some of it felt like a dagger to the heart. For example, she feels worried when mummy is not at home and excited when she makes cakes or has her friends here. She is scared of the dark (unknown to us) and spiders (this one she has made blatantly obvious). The activity could be extended using their suggestion of asking older children whether or not they can think of other emotions not included.
The sorting emotions game uncovered a few surprises!
There was a daily check in chat to complete to see how she felt each morning, helping us to make arrangements to support her mood if required. This was particularly helpful if she woke up in a typical toddler mood! There were days where she reported feeling happy but then would ask questions which implied she felt differently e.g. she randomly started to discuss the recent loss of a pet. Therefore, we revisited the daily check in and used the emotion character cards to help her discuss how she felt about the loss of her little furry friend.
There is a matching pairs game using emotion character cards, and again there was a differentiated activity e.g. pull a face and get the other to guess what you are feeling, or for younger children, stand in front of the mirror to practice the facial expressions to know what each emotion looks like if expressed by their peers. This is great for teaching about empathy. We of course had a selfie competition where we each tried to pull the silliest face. The activity has been useful if she exhibits challenging or cheeky behaviour as we use these faces as a way of trying to teach her to understand others emotions e.g. when she wouldn’t listen to daddy and then cried because she didn’t know why the behaviour was being challenged. We got down to her level, daddy displayed the sad face and we talked through what daddy was feeling, what she was feeling and why both were feeling that way.
We then had a go at the roll the dice activity where you take it in turns to share a time when you felt a particular way. With a bit of help, she could recall some recent experiences e.g. she knows she was kind when she shared her toys but was angry when her friend wasn’t allowed to stay for lunch. Older primary school children would enjoy making their own emotions dice using the template provided.
The activiy dice asks you to recall when you felt a particular way. This is great for discussing triggers and support should a negative emotion arise in future.
Given her anxieties around starting preschool we explored the emotional support available and used this as a good opportunity to challenge ‘hitting’ as a way of letting out frustration given that she has seen some of her friends do this and has, on occasion, hit the couch in frustration herself. We made this impersonal by using toys and open ended questions to discuss how/where Dolly could get help from in various situations e.g. Dolly fell in the playground. How does she feel? Who can she go to to help her feel better? Dolly hit someone who took a toy. How does Dolly feel? Why? How does the other person feel? How would Dolly feel if she was hit? Why? What could Dolly have done differently so no one is upset?
Finally we brainstormed the types of things we could do to help ourselves if we were sad e.g. have a little sing song etc and then referred to the suggestions sent by Language box. We feel this may help when her emotions get the better of her and compliment the 6th activity ‘stop the storm’ before things escalate and she has a toddler meltdown.
In conclusion, the feelings resource pack is a quick and easy way of introducing to pre school and primary school children the idea of emotions. It can be used during periods of uncertainty e.g. bereavement, Covid 19, experiencing new places etc to help explore a child’s feelings. This helps you understand why they are acting as they are, and offer them emotional support to manage the emotion. We were a little young for a few activities but overall, the pack did really help and its surprising what the kids come out with. It certainly opened our eyes!
How can you get hold of a pack?
What if I have other language concerns?
If you have any particular language concerns, a specialist can complete a free 15 minute online assessment and then you can choose to have a full assessment via Zoom. We have booked our little one in to check on a stammer and the booking process was incredibly easy. Please visit their site for further details on Teletherapy.
There are also a range of free downloadable resources including resources on mental health, and specialists have a wealth of experience supporting our young people with autism to reach their potential.
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