We talk about feelings a lot. Joshua is at the age where talking about people’s feelings as well as naming and understanding your own feelings is becoming increasingly important so we practice naming feelings and cement understanding through reading and modelling the correct behaviour. Joshua is spending time increasing amounts of time with other people outside of immediate friends and family so it is important that he learns to stand up for himself as well as understand that making people feel sad – or being hurt yourself – is a part of life and that there is an appropriate way to express and handle these emotions.
Here are a few books we have been reading lately that Joshua has been enjoying:
- Baby Happy, Baby Sad – Leslie Patricelli
This one is a picture book showing things that make baby happy and sad. Very funny as the lack of words in this book gives us a chance to really improvise and talk about what baby is doing and why this makes baby happy or sad.
- When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry… – Molly Bang
This one talks about being angry (self explanatory from the title!). Anger can be dealt with in many ways and this one shows Sophie getting really angry but dealing with it by stepping outside, getting some fresh air and thinking about things to calm her down before she returns home happy again.
- When I’m feeling happy – Trace Moroney
A longer book, quite wordy but a really good book that talks about how being happy makes you feel inside. This is part of a series of books which I love that goes through all the different emotions – happy, angry, sad, lonely, jealous, scared and kind.
- Today I feel silly: And other moods that make my day – Jamie Lee Curtis
The illustrations are a bit out there but the message in the book is wonderful. This book goes through all the emotions a child might feel during the day and uses rhymes to make it fun. There is a bit at the end to talk about what happy, sad, angry etc faces look like and you can turn the little wheel to decide how you feel today.
- No No Yes Yes – Leslie Patricelli
This one is interesting. On the surface it seems to be a book that might encourage what a lot of people would term as defiant toddler behaviour however it is actually a book about self control – while this isn’t technically a “feeling” it is something we need to learn and this book shows that while it might be fun to do something it doesn’t mean you always should because this might make other people feel sad. Lots of pictures of things we do – yes – and things we don’t do – no.
- No Matter What – Debi Gliori
No matter what Small does or says, Large will always love him. This is a great message to send to your child, you might feel a lot of things during the day but at the end of it all your parents will still love you and love is a feeling that definitely needs to be identified and encouraged. Another great one about unconditional love is The I Love You Book by Todd Parr as well as Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney.
In explaining how to deal with feelings I have noticed Joshua treating his toys with more care and love. He tells me frequently now that he loves and misses each toy by name, as well as people. He is encouraged (but not forced to say sorry) and if he will not say it he will now more often than not just hug or kiss whomever he has upset or hurt before moving on. It has become so clear to me how important it is to explain actions and feelings and the consequences in preparation for the commencement of his journey toward completion of what Maria Montessori referred to as “Normalisation“. (For more information on the stages of Normalisation please see here.)
Do you have books that you can suggest for feelings? I would love to hear them. There are so many books out there and I have only touched on a few that we have read.