Observe the child and interactions with others during the day.
Children of this age experience a range of emotions during every day routines. When emotions are seen, if the child doesn’t spontaneously discuss them, an adult can ask the child about them. “Tell me what you are feeling?” “What happened to make you sad?” When others are expressing emotions, the adult can determine if the child understands the reasons for the emotions. “Wow. Marcus is really excited. I wonder why?”
The child is able to verbally express how he feels and why. He may be able to say, for example, “She hurt my feelings. She didn’t like my picture.” The child is also able to observe feelings in others and comment on why the other person must be feeling that way.
Children are becoming more in tune with their feelings and why they feel the way they do. This goes along with their increasing ability to do causal reasoning. Early childhood educators and parents can now talk to children about why they feel a certain way. The child picks up on their emotions and states and adults can explain why they are behaving in certain ways. “Daddy is upset about his work right now and that made me yell. I shouldn’t yell at you when I’m mad at work, should I?”
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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