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World Mental Health Day – emotions and feelings

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On World Mental Health Day I would like to talk about some things we can communicate with children about their emotions and feelings. I will touch on a small number of areas that are explored further in the Little Wise Box of Emotions for 3-6 year olds and the Reframing Your Thoughts toolkit for 6-12 year olds.

The activity sets highlight how validating children’s feelings by offering empathy can be powerful as feeling understood can help to calm big feelings and emotions.  As well as validating their feelings, as outlined in the Reframing toolkit, we can ask helpful questions to encourage children to see another viewpoint.  For example, rather than saying ‘You’ll do better next time’ or ‘It’s not a big deal’ (it probably is to them), we could say, ‘It can be disappointing when things don’t work out how you had hoped.  What do you think you might be able to do differently next time?’.

As a further example, the activity sets also talk about the importance of letting children know that it is absolutely OK to experience all sorts of different emotions and feelings (including more challenging ones).  They are not things that need to be suppressed.  Actually, trying to do this can even help challenging feelings to grow and become more overwhelming.  It is much better to learn to acknowledge big feelings and work with them to achieve a more helpful outcome.  We can also let children know that it is how they react to their feelings that is important.  For example, when children act out in a way that isn’t helpful or appropriate, instead of them feeling that they are somehow bad because of how they behaved, we can offer an empathetic and constructive approach, while also setting boundaries.  For example, ‘I understand it can be frustrating when…  But it’s not OK to…  Let’s look for a better way to respond to this situation’.

And, of course, a key thing we can do is to open the door to conversations with children about their emotions and feelings and, in turn, help them to see that it is absolutely OK for them to talk about their emotions and feelings too.

I hope this small selection of highlights above offer some useful food for thought. ✨🌈🤸🏾‍♀️✨

THE LITTLE WISE TOYS’ SHOP IS OPEN!

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Ever so pleased to announce that the Little Wise Toys’ shop is now open!  I hope you like the brand new website too.  If you would like a round-up of Little Wise Toys’ news delivered to your inbox, then please do sign up for the Little Wise Toys’ newsletter.  You can do so from the home page of the website.  From January, a newsletter will be sent out (no more than once a month) sharing information about all sorts of early learning related areas.  There may be an additional newsletter in the coming weeks.

Thank you so much for visiting the Little Wise Toys’ website.  Have fun browsing and hope to see you back again soon.

Love from Michelle, Little Wise Junior (my seven year old daughter), and Hooty (the Little Wise Toys’ owl) xx