I don’t think she could even sit up yet, but I remember noticing that my daughter would watch another baby’s reaction after she snatched a toy from him. I know she didn’t do it to make the other child unhappy… but I felt like maybe I could help her understand that her actions had an affect on other people by talking about how the other baby felt sad, and offering a solution.
Using language to label emotions can be helpful not only to learn about emotional vocabulary, but also to respect and validate that it’s ok to feel lots of different things – this, in turn, supports her social-emotional development as well as her development of social cognition.
In our corresponding podcast episode, “Labelling Emotions,” we discussed the fact that when you label emotions – of people in your environment (especially when strong emotions are witnessed), or those your baby expresses, you give words to feelings and reassure her that feelings of all kinds are valued.
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Materials to create your DIY feelings faces plates:
- 5-6 paper plates
- A search engine (to locate 5-6 images of various emotions such as happy/sad/excited/mad/tired/hungry) and printer, OR a nice marker and some artistic talent!
- Brightly colored markers to write the name of the emotion (why not highlight print while you’re at it!)
Instructions to create your DIY feelings faces plates:
- Affix each picture to a separate plate with the tape (or draw the various pictures directly on the plates)
- Place them all face down, and either turn one over yourself, or allow your baby to choose which plate she wants / wants you to flip over (either by simply doing it herself, or by pointing to, gazing at, or moving her body toward the desired plate).
- Talk about what you see in the picture, and how that baby/child feels. Tell a story about why that baby feels that way (each time you do this, you might tell a different story, to keep it interesting). Let the emotion shown on the plate dictate the verse of the song you sing.
- Use gestures like the ones in my video below to create a truly multi-sensory experience for your little one!
This post contains affiliate links. All activities described by Strength In Words assume close and continuous supervision of the child by an adult.
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We always encourage you to make your own play materials - but here's a pre-made freebie to save you time!