Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

Emotions Charts Download to help your child develop his Emotional Intelligence
from Sunflower Storytime, TotSchooling, and Bougribouillons

How to receive this download package?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and tomorrow we’ll send you the collection by email.

Feelings faces by Sunflower Storytime

Download the chart here.

Emotional Intelligence

What is it?  (Besides a buzz word)

Do I have it?  Do my precious kids?

What difference would Emotional Intelligence make in my home?

In Psychology Magazine, Dan Goleman, PhD. and author of The Brain and Emotional Intelligence describes EI as both a self and other-focused process:

Emotional Intelligence refers to two kinds of focus.

First: an inward awareness of our thoughts and our feelings, and applying that in managing our upsets and focus on our goal.

Second: a focus on others, to empathize and understand them, and on the basis of this to have effective interactions and relationships.

The first step is emotion-awareness.

Then, the ability to name our feelings gets us launching on managing them.

How many emotions can your children identify and name?

Today’s gift helps you do just that.

Fun facts about emotions:

Feelings are neither good nor bad emotions.

It is good to be angry at rape and human trafficking.

You and your child can discuss whether it is good or bad to be happy at someone else’s bad news (!)

Emotions, thoughts, and behaviors and intimately linked.

Which comes first:  The thought that we are in a dangerous situation, or the feeling “I’m scared,” or getting out of there as soon as possible?

This is the subject of much scientific debate…and not of this blog post.  Suffice it to know that these three facets of emotions are indissociable.

Did you know that you can even create a happy mood by biting (not tooooo hard) on a pencil with your mouth?  This biting process (behavior) stimulates the same muscles used to smile, thus sends messages to the brain (thinking) to create dopamine, the feel good hormone (emotion).

Emotions have BOTH universal AND cultural expressions

Before the 1970’s, anthropologists believed facial expressions reflected cultural interpretations. Psychologist and behavioral scientist Paul Ekman developed systematic ways to measure body language and identified 6 basic emotions which are universal throughout human cultures.

fear, disgust, anger, surprise, happiness, and sadness.

Of course, there are MANY MORE emotions, and some believe more internationally universal ones too.

Emotions can be described by ONE word.

“I feel like the freshness of feet crush fresh grass sprinkled with morning dew.”

This sure sounds loverrrrly.  It’s not an emotion.

The associated feeling could be surprised, or uncomfortable, or refreshed, or …. (wet is not an emotion.  It’s a physical state 🙂 )


Teaching our Children to Identify and Express Emotion

Your usually-cheerful child comes home in a bad mood.  What is he feeling?  He might not even be able to put words to it!

Help him decompress by helping him identify his feelings.

Little tykes relate well to these colorful and expressive emotions faces from Sunflower Storytime.  Print them out and place them in an accessible place.  When your child stomps/slouches/jumps/slumps in, steer him towards the emotions faces and begin a healing time for all.

And if your child is not ready to communicate, don’t worry.  In five minutes, she might!  Let her know you are available.

“When you want to let me know how you’re feeling, come find me, darling.”  And smile.

Because YES our brains are also wired to mimic others.  Your happy mood (or your miserable one….) is contagious too.


More resources

I love these universal language, colorful faces on the chart by Sunflower Storytime.  You might prefer another style.  In addition, if your feelings charts include words you’ll be enriching their emotional vocabulary.

Check out these sites for alternatives.

ACN Latitudes – The Association for Comprehensive Neurotherapy has a comprehensive collection of downloadable chart for all occasions.

TotSchooling – I LOVE these Christmas emotions charts.  Prepare to avoid the meltdown when your child does not receive the gift they requested DAILY from Santa.

Bougribouillons – These charts (in French) might be more suited to older children.  Using charts in another language is a great stimulation for you and your family; it provides you with the liberty to develop your own family’s feeling vocabulary.  “What does ‘rassuré’ mean?… What does it look like to you? What words could we use in our home?”

La Famille Positive – This is where I found out about Bougribouillons. Edna Guccia hunts down positive advice (and shares some of own her wisdom).  If you are looking for French resources, well, she’s One. Great. Resource!


Thanks to Austin Chan for his photo on Unsplash

What do you think?