You know what? I am still grateful that my kids are no longer toddlers. Going out and about with them is so much easier now and they can even almost sit through a whole dentist appointment waiting for me. If your kids are not quite there yet, take heart. It’s coming. It will get easier.
They have far more control over their emotions than they used to. Sure they still get cranky but we haven’t had a full meltdown in some time. (I can’t walk by the makeup aisle in Target without remembering the threenaged Pea screeching for “lipstick that goes on her eyes.” I had to leave an entire cart in the middle of the store that day and walk out with her still screaming.)
The years have gone by and I can bring them to the movies by myself. We can even watch a whole movie without having to get up multiple times for potty breaks. These are the true joys of parenthood! Getting through the hard parts to get to the sweet spots!
We love Disney’s Pixar movies and went to see Inside out opening weekend in 3D. We had a blast!
There are so many teaching opportunities from this movie.
First and second graders recognize a wide variety of feelings and emotions. I loved the message of how feeling one emotion can hugely impact another; feeling intense sadness makes the feelings of joy when your loved ones cheer you up more meaningful.
My kids have always used comfort items to help sort through their emotions. Whether it be their “blankies” or favorite “stuffies,” something is always clutched to his or her heart when overwhelmed by their feelings.
I admit that I find it humorously ironic that my kids can now hug emotion plush dolls…when emotional.
While playing with them, Pork Chop asked me if I thought everybody’s emotions looked like Riley’s emotions. I told him that just like people look different, their emotions probably look different too.
My “joy” may not look like your “joy”–but the emotion is still joy. With the events taking place around the country, it is important to me that I remind my kids that people may not look the same on the outside but are still all people.
Easy kids craft: Emotion Mask
For this craft we used paper plates, oil pastels, water colors, popsicle sticks, and tape
The instructions to this craft are simply, “show me what your leading emotion looks like.”
It was interesting to see which emotions the kids chose as their leading emotion. Pea stuck with “Joy” but she wanted to have “Disgust’s eyes” (I helped her with the eyes) and different hair.
Pork Chop made up an emotion: “Crazy” because his leading emotion is always “being crazy.” (I call it “incredibly high energy and constantly moving.”)
After decorating the masks, I affixed the popsicle sticks to the masks with the tape.
Beyond the movie
Another wonderful thing about having school aged children are that both of the kids can read. When things get hectic, I have them pull out their books. I noticed my son was very focused on the number of pages he could add to his “summer reading challenge” checklist rather than focusing on the stories themselves. He is pretty numbers driven and wants to get the gold medal when school resumes. I wanted to focus more on the plot and the characters of the books rather than the number of pages he could write down as completed.
Seeing the movie and having tangible reminders of the lessons learned from it (in the form of plush toys), inspired me to create this critical reading worksheet. (Click on the link for a free printable worksheet) Though only six and seven, I want both kids to think about what they are reading. Beyond understanding emotions, I want them to be able to see how emotions affect the characters in their books.
Critically reading and writing about what they learned will help keep their young minds sharp over the summer. Though we keep a loose schedule/routine (i.e. we leave the house for a couple of hours every weekday so we all have to get dressed and not lounge in pajamas or bathing suits all day), I don’t have them doing handouts or math problems. We read for enjoyment and quiet time. Memories of reading my summers away are among my favorites of my childhood.
Understanding the emotions of the characters in their books and how those emotions affect the actions of the hero will no doubt help the kids improve their own emotional intelligence and ability to navigate the social world.
How are you helping your kids understand their emotions and how emotions affect their decisions?