Have a discussion with the child about emotions.
A stimulus for discuss of emotions can be when the child experiences intense emotions or observes others doing so. Another stimulus is a storybook that may resonate with the child’s experiences (e.g., going to the doctor, having a new baby sister, etc.). These situations present an opportunity to compare what is happening in the story to how the child felt, feels, or may feel in the future.
The child relates emotions to personal past experience of self or others. She may describe actions, but needs prompts to relate the actions to emotions or vice versa. “I went to the hospital” may engender a question. “How did you feel in the hospital?” followed by, “What did you do so you didn’t feel scared anymore?”
The ability to think about the causes and consequences of past emotional experiences can assist children in dealing with present and future events. Encourage early childhood educators and parents to help children reflect on past occurrences and what worked or didn’t work in the previous situation. Generalization of learning from one situation to another is an important skill for adults to promote.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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