All educators understand the importance of helping children to identify and express their emotions. Self-regulation strategies in early childhood settings often include, naming and taming, scaffolding conversations, role modelling, reading books, playing emotion games, singing songs and role playing.
But on a much deeper level, it’s more empowering if children can also make meaningful connections between their emotions and their bodily sensations.
How well do they understand what is happening to their body when they feel these emotions?
How does their stomach feel when upset or nervous?
What happens to their heartbeat when they get scared?
What events make them cry?
How does it feel when they laugh?
What circumstances make them completely freeze and feel like they can’t move a muscle?
What happens in their body just before falling asleep?
How does their head feel when they have been at a party too long?
What happens inside of them when they see a puppy chase a bug in the long grass?
How does it feel when they give their Mum or Dad a big hug after a long day?
Children should know how their bodies feel when sad, happy, frustrated, angry, tired, calm, scared, worried, overwhelmed, excited, or surprised.
When children are supported in understanding emotions that are linked to their own bodies, we are empowering them to:
- Understand that all feelings serve a biological purpose
- Develop and trust their gut instincts and intuition
- Listen to their bodies
- Self-regulate their emotions
- Have control over their own bodies
- Develop emotional intelligence
- Recognise body clues needed to protect them from anyone that makes them feel scared or uncomfortable.
When children are experiencing intense emotions, or even when they are relaxing on the couch – a really important question to ask is…
How is your body feeling right now?
Have you heard about the BODYSMART SERIES?
This year I have collaborated with Krysten Taprell, The Therapist Parent to develop the BODYSMART SERIES picture books.
Titles in this series include:
Smart Kids are Shy
Smart Kids Cry
Smart Kids Get Scared
Smart Kids Get Angry
Smart Kids are Sensitive
Smart Kids Get Worried
Many children (and adults) don’t realise that there is a smart and biological reason for the way our bodies feel when in different emotional states. These books encourage children to listen to their bodies, make the connection between emotions and physical wellbeing, and provide positive language to use when emotions or temperament are perceived by others as negative.
Behind the scenes has also been a team of highly qualified BETA READERS made up of psychologists, counsellors, therapists, and teachers. They have all given valuable insight, feedback, and appraisal to ensure these books can be the most beneficial for children, teachers, and their families.
As you all know, I am passionate about the power of language and finding the right words to speak with children. I’m confident that the words in these books are much needed – and we are hoping to get them out as soon as we can! Stay tuned for more details.
Children’s Author, Freelance Writer + Educational Consultant
Renee is a children’s author based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. She is passionate about creating profound social change by providing children, teachers and parents with the positive language needed for healthy social and emotional development. She is the author of picture books, The Strongest Boy, and Rosie Leads the Way.