Talking about and dealing with emotions can be a tricky subject, but it doesn’t have to be. The Create-A-Face drawing pad really helped my daughter open up. -Stacy
My daughter recently started kindergarten. She is a lover of animals, babies, infants, toddlers, teenagers and adults, but when it comes to children her own age, she is struggling to connect.
She’s an independent free spirit: artistic, sensitive and with a heart of gold — still, sometimes she lacks self-confidence and has trouble expressing herself. I’m working with her teachers and doing what I can to make the classroom a more comfortable environment for her, but I wanted to do something at home too.
Art is her favorite pastime, so broaching tough subjects like feelings and making friends in a setting where she is comfortable really works for us. It could work for you too! We started drawing clowns and pirates and such, but quickly moved on to more meaningful work.
I started her off with an easy one. What does happy look like?
She began by recalling stories I have told her about my time in Africa, mostly because she loves to hear me tell her how I found out I was pregnant with her while on one of my trips, but also (and this is the important part) because she remembers me telling her about the intense joy and overwhelming emotions I felt while I was there — a life lesson: true happiness is contagious. I was amazed how she could turn my memories into a vision all her own. She put such care in to how she made her, was thoughtful in how she described her and had such a genuine smile on her face while she drew her.
✓ – She has happiness down.
Next, we moved on to sadness. Her expression changed, her eyes grew wide and she started to frown. “When you are sad“, she said, “you don’t want to go anywhere or see anyone . . . you might cry. When your feelings are hurt, it hurts you on the inside too.”
Saddness – yep, she knows what that feels like. Luckily, she also knew the remedy: hugs, kisses and happy thoughts — unless you are her little brother, in that case you don’t really like hugs or kisses. (I told her to give them to him anyway!)
We also spoke of anger and how doing bad things and saying bad things can really hurt people and make them … sad. <- I liked that she could equate how someone’s emotions could effect someone else’s. The key to dealing with anger she told me, “was saying your sorry” … “then doing nice things and stopping all the mad stuff“. She confided in me that she didn’t really like doing bad things or being around people who did them.
She does like surprises though (bottom right), she thinks those are pretty much the coolest thing in the world.
I loved getting to know her this way, we talked in a way typical day-to-day interaction doesn’t really allow us to. I saw her from a whole new perspective and I loved it. She did too, she told me just before bed what a nice surprise our art project was today!
That’s code for spending time with mom + doing art projects + having you really listen to me = the coolest thing in the world. <see definition of surprised above>
Stacy Teet is the military mom–turned-supermom behind KidsStuffWorld. Her writing is chock-full of tips for enjoying parenthood, saving money, entertaining your kids and making your family’s life a bit simpler. Check out her website, KidsStuffWorld.com, or follow her on Pinterest, Twitter or the KSW Facebook page.