Photo: Michelle Woo
Little kids have a lot of big feelings, ones that can change rapidly and dramatically from the time it takes you say "Would you like a strawberry jam sandwich?" to "Oh dear, we only have the ends of the bread loaf left." But they can't always express their feelings in words, so they often do so in tantrums and tears. Prodding from Mum and Dad — calm down, let's talk about it, tell me about your feelings, are you upset? — only makes them more frustrated.
The Emotion Wheel is a simple communication tool that you can make in a snap. Here's a free template, or you can just as easily draw up your own. Grab some paper or cardstock, cut out a circle and then draw faces with different emotions all around it. Happy, calm, nervous, angry, sad, had-way-too-much-sugar, whatever you can think of. Then cut out a little arrow and attach it with a fastener. If you're feeling fancy, you can take photos of your child acting out all the different types of emotions, and stick the snapshots on the wheel.
Whenever your kid needs to express what he's feeling, he can point the arrow to the appropriate emotion. (Or he can point to multiple feelings — if we learned anything from Inside Out, it's that we are complex beings.) I could use an Emotion Wheel for myself on many mornings. Don't talk to me. Please check the wheel.