Daniel Goldman says that emotional intelligence includes, “the ability to control impulses, delay gratification, motivate self, read other people’s social cues, and cope with life’s ups and downs”. Learning how to express how you feel in appropriate ways is a life skill that will help you to make healthy choices for yourself. Sharing how you feel with others creates connection and encourages the development of safe, caring relationships. Do not assume that the children know how to do this. You will encourage emotional communication and offer support to the children you teach listening, empathy and communication skills.
When you teach a variety of ways to express all feelings you are giving children skills that can be used for a lifetime. What follows are suggestions for ways to practice expressing emotions.
Teach about learning styles and Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences so that each child can learn about their own style of learning and expressing feelings.
- An auditory person would want to talk about his or her feelings.
- A visual person might want to show you how he or she feels with pictures.
- A kinesthetic person might want a hug or sit close to you or need to express his or her feeling with movement.
The arts are a rich resource for expressing emotion.
- Drawing, painting, clay
- Dance, movement, exercise
- Poetry, creative writing
- Puppets, plays, drama
- Music, singing, humming, play an instrument, drum
Breathing. We hold our breath in an attempt to keep a feeling from releasing.
Try these to use breath to express emotions or release them.
- Count to ten and breath
- Hold breath for 10-20 seconds and then blow out very slowly
- Take slow breaths in through nose; blow out slowly through mouth
- Sing, whistle
Play/Movement – especially in nature
- Talk a walk or run
- Walk through a park, pick up sticks and stones that appeal to you
- Play on a playground
- Throw rocks in a lake; throw cotton balls (and pick them up)
- Wad up large pieces of newspapers