Cali has been able to identify and describe the emotional state of another person for awhile, however, her descriptions are usually made with only the most basic, simple words (i.e. “she is happy”, “he is sad”, “she is mad”). The goal over the past few months is to have Cali recognize and use advanced emotion words such as frustrated, nervous, worried, cheerful, etc. In order to help her accomplish this goal, we have done a couple specific activities that I think others will find beneficial as well.
One of the activities was introduced by Madi, Cali’s primary therapist. The activity was this: watch The Transporters video and follow along with the questions and quizes given throughout . Easy enough, right? For us, it definitely is an easy and entertaining activity. If any of you have seen the video of Cali watching Dora (you can find it under Therapy Sessions on the side bar), you will know why watching any sort of movie or short clip of video would be enjoyable for her. She is obsessed!!! This is a clip of how the activity went:
The second activity we have tried lately is one Cali likes equally as well, and doesn’t happen to be a video. At first glance, the activity would seem to be a rather boring choice, but for whatever reason it is a hit to Cali. Here is a picture of what we use for the activity.
Yep, that’s it. Pretty easy again, right? A simple ring holding different cards, each showing a different emotion. If you go here, you can purchase one for yourself, but if you’re not interested in spending the money, make one yourself. I’d imagine this would be a simple, cost effective activity to make at home. This activity aims at specifically increasing the child’s emotional intelligence. The bottom of the picture cuts off a very cute and appropriate quote which says: IQ gets you through school, but EQ gets you through life. One the ring you will find instructions to help you know how to teach the child the various emotions. Here is how they explain how to teach. REMEMBER, take it one step at a time:
1. Label each emotion. As you flip through the cards, imitate each expression and label the emotion. As an example, smile and say “Happy. How does she feel?” Make sure the child repeats after you and encourage the child to imitate the expression.
2. Help to understand each emotion. Begin with a few cards. As an example, show the “Happy” card to the child and say “Look, she’s smiling and having such a good time. How do you think she feels?” Make sure you emphasize the emotion by asking the question in a happy voice while you smile. If the child doesn’t respond, say “Happy. When you smile and have a good time you feel …” (Let the child fill in the blank). Continue by saying “That’s right. You feel happy when you smile and …” Let the child fill in the blank. Fade the prompt as quickly as possible until the child can independently respond to the question “How does it feel to be happy?”
3. Help them learn when emotion occur. You might ask “Do you feel happy when you jump on trampoline?” When the child says “Yes” say “That’s right. You feel happy because you smile and have a good time. Do you feel happy when you run through the sprinkler?” When the child responds say “That’s right. Running through the sprinkler makes you feel happy.” Establish fluency by asking “What things can make you happy?” Encourage the child to identigy as many things as possible that make them happy. Repeat with each card until the child is able to respond to random questions such as “How does it feel to be sad?” “What can make you feel surprised?” “How do you think he feels?”
And just to confirm…these are not my instructions, but the instructions on the actual ring purchased from the site linked above.
Whenever we try this activity Cali has a total blast. She thinks seeing me imitate the emotions is hilarious…I bet it is;)
If your child is like Cali and needs work in this area, try both or one of these activities. We are already seeing improvement with Cali. Hopefully you will see improvement as well!