By Guest Contributor and Wise Family Clinician – Kasey Cain, Resident in Counseling
In order to navigate the world around us we must understand our feelings. Yet, feelings are extremely complicated. We can have multiple feelings all at the same time. They are fluid throughout the day and depend on individual perceptions. Feelings are also dependent on an individual’s ability to regulate his or her emotions.
Even as adults we sometimes have difficulty making sense of our feelings. If this is challenging for adults, think about what it must be like for children – especially those with social communication challenges. But don’t worry! Opportunities to learn about feelings are all around us. Use these strategies to encourage your child (and yourself) to explore your “feelings, feelings, everywhere feelings”:
How Are You Peeling? Foods With Moods by Saxton Ferymann and Joost Elffers
Move Your Mood by Brenda S. Miles and Colleen A. Patterson
The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis
However, any book can be used. Discussing what is happening in a story and how the characters are feeling as a result is a safe way for a child to identify feelings. If your child is naming the feelings as mad, sad, happy, or scared, be sure to offer alternate feelings words such as angry, lonely, joyful, or nervous. I often use Mo Willem’s Knuffle Bunny or Elephant and Piggie books with children. These books are rich in illustrations that reflect an array of emotions.
Having a firm understanding of feelings is key to the practices of empathy and perspective taking. When children can label their own feelings it becomes easier for them to recognize the feelings of others.
(Content written in collaboration with Lipsett Learning Connection)
Kasey is a mom to two fabulous daughters, loves mint chocolate chip ice cream, and loves to dance. She has very acute hearing and can track multiple conversations at once! She loves to read and take naps in her spare time. Kasey’s knowledge of the school system and best practices for teaching and learning, paired with her honed counseling skills, leaves her expertly suited to work with children and their families. She believes in the power of play and that all behavior is communication.
She holds a Masters in Education for School Counseling and a Post Counseling Licensure Certificate in Community Counseling. She is actively pursuing licensure in Virginia as a Licensed Professional Counselor. Her professional journey has included teaching, working at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum education programming department, and community counseling. Since 2006, she has worked in Fairfax County Public schools as an Elementary Professional School Counselor and as a Resource Counselor for School Counseling Services in FCPS’s central office.
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