I found another great activity idea on the Fishful Thinking website to help my children with their Emotional Awareness. I am planning on making time this weekend to do this with my 4 and 6 year old.
This activity couldn't have come at a better time. As were are constantly dealing with emotions as our family deals with my husband's continued illness. It think it is going to help get some emotions out on the table and talked about.
I am either planning on using my children's lego blocks or the colored bag of Goldfish crackers I have in the pantry.
Here is the activity:
Find colorful objects around the house, such as Goldfish® Colors crackers, jelly beans, colored blocks or beads. Each color represents a feeling (gold = proud, green = jealous, red = angry, etc.). You and your child take turns picking an object from the bag and sharing a story about a time you felt the emotion represented by the color chosen.
For younger kids (3-5) encourage the child to say a sentence or two ("I felt mad when Jon knocked over my tower because it was really big and he's always breaking my stuff."). Resist the temptation to challenge the feeling or problem-solve (e.g. "What do you think you could do next time so that he doesn't knock it over?"). Instead, just empathize with the feeling by saying something like, "Yes, it would make me mad too." For this young age, keep the emotions simple: just happy, sad or mad and that the goal is for them to say a few words up to a few sentences. Just saying, "I felt sad yesterday and I cried" is a great use of the exercise. You might find it useful to first give brief explanations of the feeling such as, "sad is when you feel like crying like if you don't get something you want."
For older kids (6-12), the feelings can be more complex (like guilty, jealous, proud) and to encourage the child to talk about the experience for a minute or two. Again, don't challenge the experience ("Oh, I don't think you need to worry about that" or "I'm sure she didn't do it on purpose", etc.). Instead, empathize by briefly sharing a time when you were that age and felt similarly.