|Routine||Talking about emotions in self||Talking about emotions of others|
Arrival and Departure
Have pictures of children demonstrating a variety of emotions. Teach children to identify how they are feeling by pointing to, selecting, or labeling the way they are feeling at arrival and departure. Have family members or caregivers join in and model emotion labeling as well.
When children arrive they might be happy to see friends, sad to see their dad leave, tired because it is early in the morning, or hungry because they did not eat breakfast yet. When children leave they might be feeling excited to get home, or sad to leave friends, etc. Model the use of emotion words to talk about other children. For example, “Jenny, Molly looks sad. Let’s ask her what is wrong.” Or “Ayita, Penny is smiling! Do you think she is excited to see her mom?”
Sing songs and play games about emotions (“If you are happy and you know it….”). Change well-known songs or games to include emotion words (play Simon says using emotion words and expressions). Read books about emotions. Select books that talk about the more complex emotions and use the complex emotion words throughout the day. Use puppets to act out stories about complex emotions.
Incorporate talking about emotions into the daily circle-time routine. Plan an activity in which the children take turns talking about how they feel, and have the group ask them why they are sad, etc. Use a large piece of chart paper with all the children’s names. Have each child put an emotion next to his or her name. Count and talk about all the different emotions children in the room are feeling. Put pictures of emotions around the circle-time area and ask children to “find” an emotion.
Children might be excited because they are eating their favorite snack, hungry, thirsty, or disappointed because they do not like the snack. Incorporate talking about feeling into the snack time conversation. Use pictures of children or cards with emotion words, and have children identify their emotions. Prompt children to identify how they are feeling at the beginning and end of snack.
Have children turn to the person next to them and ask how they feel. Use pictures, a script, or cards with labels, and have children talk about their emotions with the children at their table.
Put several emotions on a board or in a book. Put matching faces on the snack chairs, a poster in the bathroom or outside, or specific centers. Have children transition by asking each what he or she is feeling, select the emotion from the board, and then match it at the next activity.
While children are waiting in line for the bathroom, walking outside, or cleaning up toys, sing songs or play games about emotions. During the transition to outside time, have children identify their emotions before going outside and again as they come back in from outside. Talk about how emotions might change before and after activities.
Assign peer buddies or friends during transitions. Have children walk outside, clean up, wash hands, etc. with a friend. Ask children to ask each other how they are feeling after the transition. Model the use of emotion words to talk about other children. For example, “Molly looks disappointed that it’s clean-up time. Jessie, please help her clean up the blocks. Then it’s time to go outside!”
Include activities related to books, songs, or games about emotions. Adapt popular games to include emotion words and expressions. Have children play matching, sorting, or memory games about emotions. Plan activities where the children use mirrors to look at their faces and then draw pictures about their emotions.
Plan activities where the children draw faces of their friends, family members, children in stories or books, etc., displaying certain emotions. Hang the faces around the room and talk about the emotions throughout the day.
Have children draw or paint pictures of “feelings” and talk about them. Label the emotions and hang them around the room.