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Managing Emotions

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Managing emotions

This blog looks at an example of how the Little Wise Box of Emotions can help little ones learn how to manage their emotions and feelings.

One of the benefits of the Little Wise Box of Emotions is the opportunity it provides for little ones to get really hands on and interactive in their exploration of social and emotional development.  Not only does this make the whole process more engaging and fun, it can also empower kids (and parents) to be able to explore situations in more depth than they might otherwise do through talking alone.

As well as exploring social and emotional development more generally, the kit also provides a great opportunity to explore more specific situations. For example, it might be that you’ve noticed a particular event that regularly triggers big emotions in your child, such as worry, anger or frustration.  Whatever the trigger might be, the Little Wise Box of Emotions provides a fantastic opportunity to explore things together.

If you have chosen a particular incident to focus on that makes your little one frustrated, for example, alongside other possible feelings, you could  start off by looking through the different facial expressions/feelings in the kit and ask/help them to identify which ones are relevant to that particular situation.  You could talk about how each of these emotions make your little one feel (not forgetting how they present themselves physically too).   For younger children, this could also involve extending their vocabulary and introducing them to new names of different feelings (such an important part of developing children’s social and emotional intelligence).  You could then validate their feelings, offer empathy and understanding, and reassure them that no emotions are bad, it is how we react to them that is important.  You could then brainstorm together and identity different ways to handle the situation next time.  And then of course praise them when you see them implement some of their new techniques.

Sometimes these conversations might need to happen several times before you start to see a difference.  But, like sponges, bit by bit children are soaking everything up and are learning so much that they will benefit from for years to come.

Supporting Children’s Mental Health

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This is a pretty powerful quote and so relevant to children’s mental health and emotional well-being.  The wonderful thing is that there are so many things we can do to help give our children the foundations to help them to grow up into strong, confident, resilient and happy adults.

We can help our children to learn the names of different emotions so that they can learn to express themselves through words. We can talk openly with our children about emotions so that they know they can talk about theirs too, and know that emotions aren’t bad things that need to be suppressed. Instead they can learn that it is how we respond to them that is important. We can let children know that their feelings are important, even when it seems as though they are getting upset about something that might seem small, as it probably isn’t a small thing to them.  We can teach our children about growth mindset so that they know that traits such as their abilities and intelligence are not fixed, but can grow and develop when we put the effort in and work hard at things.  We can model behaviour by saying ‘sorry’ when we get it wrong, and we can talk with them openly about how we might try and manage our own feelings sometimes (‘I’m sorry I yelled at you. Next time I’m going to stop, take some deep breaths, and calm down before I speak’). We can help children to understand that how they think about something can affect how they feel, and subsequently how they react to a situation, and how ‘helpful’ thoughts can lead to more positive feelings and responses. Communicating positive messages to our children regularly (e.g. ‘I’m so glad you came into the world’) can do so much to help little ones feel loved and secure. We can lean down to our children, or pick them up, so that they can hug out hearts, and not our knees.

I could go on… And indeed I did go on in the way of writing the activity that comes in the Little Wise Box of Emotions. With this educational toy and travel toy, I wanted to put something together that is packed with tools, ideas and insight into different things we can do to help lay the foundations and support our little ones social and emotional intelligence. I hope that some of the ideas mentioned above offer some food for thought. A small thing every day can make such a big difference to a child for the rest of their life…

Wishing you all a happy Mental Health Awareness Week ❤️

Colour recognition

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Colour recognition is an essential building block in a young child’s development and will provide a range of life-long learning skills. Here’s a fun early years activity I’ve created to help little ones learn about their colours…

Firstly, you can develop a colour chart together. For this, you’ll need a range of different coloured pens or pencils and a piece of paper. The piece of paper needs two columns. The column on the left-hand side should be titled – ‘Colour’. On the left hand-side column you can then draw rows of different shapes in different colours, and colour them in together. Next to this, you can write the name of the colour. The right-hand column should be titled ‘Number’.

When you next go out and about, bring this piece of paper and a pen out with you. Keep your eyes peeled and see how many things you can spot together of each colour, and mark numbers on the colour chart in the ‘Number’ column. When choosing your colours for the colour chart, you could also use the same colour in different shades (e.g. a dark blue and a light blue) to further enhance children’s understanding of colour. The reason I wanted to draw the colours with shapes is so that we can also throw a bit of learning about shapes into the activity as well.

Little Wise Junior is seven now, and so has a great understanding of colours. Nevertheless, when I asked her to draw an example of the colour chart I describe above for this post, she became completely engaged in the exercise and really wanted us to bring it out with us on our trip out in the afternoon so that she can have a go as well. It just goes to show that one is never to old to have fun exploring colours..  Here’s to lots of fun learning through play