Sunday, February 2, 2014

How do you teach a toddler about emotions?

I cried yesterday. Somewhere between worrying about the past (did I screw up my job interview?), the present (why haven't they called my referees yet?) and the future (will they give me the job?), I hit a big old patch of worry and skated straight into 'woe is me' and a big fat puddle of tears. I've been wondering for a little while how you teach a toddler about sadness. But as I write this, he's in the bathroom with his Dad, fresh from the tub and something's gone awry. "I'm sad!" he cries. "I'm sad". Maybe he already knows.

This month's Intentional Play theme is 'Emotions', and it's the one I'm the least sure about in terms of ideas for craft and activities and books. I chose emotions because of the weird combination of events and 'days' in February - Valentine's Day, the Winter Olympics... and the need for some deeper meaning. At two, Dear Boy can articulate emotions... he talks about happy and sad and cross and worried, but he seems frightened of them, and rushes back to 'happy' in any conversation about feelings. He insists people be happy. I think this month is a good opportunity to explore some of those emotions a little more - how we feel, how we manage those feelings, how we can choose to react to them in others, how we express them, and how we might make ourselves feel better.

It's also a good opportunity to attack pinterest  (our IP board is here) and shower my boy in love hearts.

I think the music part is easy. I know there are a million love songs out there, and a million more country and blues songs, and plenty of angry, cranky, thrash-on-the-floor tunes. In terms of videos, there's these lovely little Small Potatoes snippets about all kinds of feelings - pride, joy, love...

In the craft department, we'll be making lots of faces from our leftover paper plates, attempting to paint our emotions, and decorating, cutting and pasting lots of hearts. I'm also going to attempt this little curly piece of sweetness for the boy's room.

We've already borrowed a small stack of books from the library. I found two about sadness and quite a few about love. Dear Boy's already quoting one - busting out in the car this morning with "I love my Dad" - the title of one of his new books. He's never been an 'I love you" or an "I love you too" kid, so it was the sweetest little moment.

I think we're also going to watch a bit of the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in a few days. I think I've mentioned before that we are not of a sporting people. I was a sporting kid, but I've never picked a sport, or a team, and worn their colours and barracked for them. But the Olympics get me. There's a national pride there that I enjoy - something that's so much less about boganism and monoculture and racism and much more full of support and love and hope and joy. Plus there's ice-dancing, and those awesome Norwegian curlers and their crazy uniforms.

If you've got any ideas for my emotions theme, please leave me a comment below - or post on the Lilybett and Boy facebook page

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