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.

We sang through a simple way to teach and talk about emotions, to build on vocabulary as well as a young child’s development of theory of mind.

Don't Miss our Corresponding Podcast Episode!

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!)
  • Tape

Instructions to create your DIY feelings faces plates:

  1. Affix each picture to a separate plate with the tape (or draw the various pictures directly on the plates)
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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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