One thing that is super important to us is that Aodhan has emotional literacy. I remember reading an article years ago about how boys often aren’t equipped with the language and self-confidence around emotions to properly express how they are feeling. What this often means is that all emotions come out as frustration, anger and aggression.
I want to give Aodhan the tools that he needs to communicate and express his emotions in authentic and real ways (and yes, that will include anger, frustration and even aggression). I think that by providing him with a sense of emotional literacy I am advocating for him in a proactive and powerful way.
There are millions of ways to help your child feel confident in their emotions, including: showing them a full range of honest emotions, using literature to talk through emotions, role model and use different characters to work through different ways of dealing with emotions in a positive and healthy way. Aodhan is almost three, and although I have never had to help him through a tantrum (yet), he does have big emotions. He does feel sadness, loss and new situations in big ways. So, I thought about making some emotion rocks to help us discuss, label and more deeply connect with emotions that we experience. Don’t get me wrong though – I am not trying to avoid tantrums. If he needs to explode emotionally, I will be there for him and hold him through it and discuss it afterward.
I just grabbed some of the many river rocks that are floating around our house and I selected some of the more basic emotion images from a free file I found on Tip Junkie. I just used a little bit of Mod Podge to attach the faces to each of the stones and left them to dry over night.
Aodhan found them first thing in the morning and I found them perfectly arranged in a line (with a heart rock in the middle). We have already used them to talk about our emotions (mine, his, the cats’) and highly recommend this quick DIY parenting tool.
Here’s a link to the free emotional faces file.