Children can be very unpredictable and often, it’s challenging to know how they’re feeling. But with the help of a feeling chart, you can determine a child’s feelings and this becomes more important for children who don’t have communication skills. The feeling chart or wheel is a printable tool to help a child open up about their feelings, questions or concerns.
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What are the primary feelings to include in a feelings chart?
Especially in younger children, it’s possible for them to feel several emotions and this makes it more challenging to understand what they are actually feeling even with a feelings chart. The failure to comprehend where their emotions come from can become a major problem because emotions dictate how they react to various situations.
For you to understand the variety of complex feelings, it’s important to first to learn the basics. Humans in general, are high-wired to feel the 8 primary feelings as a response to the things that happen around them. This list of feelings or emotions consists of:
There may be other feelings you can think of but basically, these arise from a combination of these primary ones. Robert Plutchik, a professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, introduced this theory and developed the emotions or feelings wheel. This is a tool that illustrates and simplifies complex emotions.
Why do you need a feelings chart?
Children often struggle in expressing and identifying their feelings but this is a very important skill for them to learn. Also referred to as emotional intelligence, this ability is important in managing interpersonal relationships.
For kids, one of the simplest ways to start teaching this is through a feelings chart. They can benefit from this in different ways should they be able to share and identify their feelings. Aside from being able to tell you how the kid’s feel, this feeling or emotion chart can also:
- Build vocabulary
The chart introduces children to simple feelings like sad, happy, angry, and so on. This is an initial step in building their vocabulary which allows them to comprehend more complex feelings later.
- Help them recognize body language and facial expressions
Feelings chart for adults and children have illustrations that show body language and facial expressions of different feelings. Although the expressions on the chart could be more exaggerated than what you actually see in real life, they still help children learn.
- Help children learn about feelings in a non-verbal way
Children can have a difficult time opening up and sharing their feelings, especially the negative ones. Telling others that you’re mad, sad or you need help can make you feel vulnerable. Both adults and children can struggle on the issue of opening up and sharing their feelings. Moreover, children with special needs are often non-verbal, meaning they cannot share their feelings using words.
When children cannot express their feelings with words and don’t know any other effective ways to share, they might resort to behavior as their means of communication and act out in undesirable or negative ways.
Other ways to help children express their feelings
Social-emotional skills are essential skills that can help children navigate the world around them, make connection with other people, and create life-long relationships as they grow older. But before they can express and deal with their feelings, they must first learn how to identify those feelings.
Using a printable feelings chart and talking about feelings is often helpful. You can do this through conversation, using a feelings or emotion chart, and through other ways. Apart from feelings chart for adults and children, here are other ways to help children express their feelings:
- Watch the movie “Inside Out”
Most families love movie night and it’s an excellent activity for home schooling. If you can watch with your kids the Disney movie “Inside Out,” this would be great as this movie is a great example of an educational film to watch with children. Aside from having incredibly deep insights and thoughtful conversation, the movie also fuels creativity as you can come up with games and a feeling chart inspired by the movie.
- Play with your child
Play is always associated with childhood and is also a language that most children love and understand. They can navigate different worlds through play. After children watch a movie, you might see them replaying the scenes in their own imaginative kind of way. So you can move things along by participating in their play activities.
- Learn how to identify feelings
Talk to your child about the different feelings and see how many they can think of then write them down. Also, talk about the other synonyms of feelings. If you’re having trouble, read some books with your child.
- Act out the different feelings
Children want to get amused and learn more about their emotional expressions using a mirror. With this, they can see through their faces what it is to look like when you’re sad, happy, scared, mad, and so on. You can even play charades where you act out different feelings.
Feelings Chart For Adults
How to make a feelings chart?
You can look as emojis as the modern-day feeling or emotion charts. Not too long ago, there was only one specific image of feeling faces used by everybody. Today, we have emojis everywhere and there are so many of them you use to make printable feelings charts.
Having something visual to look at for feelings can really help. You can use a feeling chart to help children identify what they’re currently feeling or help them determine what other kids are also feeling. With a visual chart, children can easily figure this out. It’s easier for them to look at a face and determine feelings rather than just identifying them.
Now that you know how useful feelings charts for adults and kids are, it’s time to learn how to create a feelings chart at home. You can make your own chart by following these steps:
- Choose the feelings to include in your chart
Start by identifying the feelings that you what to focus on. You can keep it simple by using the primary feelings. You can also go for the more complex feelings like frustrated, embarrassed, silly, confused or worried if your child has mastered the basics. Now gather the images of real children showing these emotions. You can do this in two ways:
Take photos of your children.
Download stock images of children and print them out.
- Put the chart together
Stick the photos in a chart and write the corresponding feeling represented by each of the faces underneath. Post your work in a place where your child can easily access it. That way, your child can look at it and use it even without your help.
Printable Feelings Chart
How to use a feelings chart?
When children have trouble explaining what they feel, they might start acting out. This usually happens with children 12 years and below as they still don’t have the cognitive reasoning skills needed to recognize their feelings and verbally talk about them.
One practical and simple way to help your child communicate their feelings is through the use of a feelings chart. This tool can show the various feelings that the child might feel throughout the day and throughout the days of the week. You can make it using simple materials like markers, cardboards, crayons, and colored pencils.
You can draw the faces by hand on paper or you can use photos or face stickers that you can easily paste on the chart. Feeling charts are typically created to reflect the interests and personality of children. If possible, get your child involved in the design process by asking them what feelings they want to include. Let them decorate the chart as they want, after all, it is their feeling chart.
When completed, you can hang the chart in your child’s room then decide the proper time to review your child’s chart. Most parents agree that you should do this before bedtime as it’s the best time to allow bonding with your child each night. But don’t limit it to that time. Tell them that they can opt to place a face on the chart to describe how he feels throughout the day.
The child may choose only one face during the day or your child might choose several. Keep in mind that the important thing here is not the number of feelings your child will express but rather, that your child learns how to associate their feelings with the right words. As a parent, your role over the feelings of the day is to practice reflecting your child’s feelings back to them and validate their emotions without changing the way they feel about situations.
Take, for in instance, these statements: “You were really mad about what happened” or “That made you feel very happy.” Try matching your tone to their feelings. Another way to help children process their feelings is through the following statements: “I wonder what might have made the experience less hurtful” or “I wonder what other feelings go with the feeling that you just had?” These statements will surely help your child learn about the different feelings they experience.