Feeling Happy

Read The Story

Activities and Discussions

Feeling Happy

Children should be made aware that it is normal to experience a wide range of emotions from happiness to sadness and anger.

Two and three year olds

Two and three year olds’ emotions can switch very rapidly. It is important to help very young children identify what makes them happy and to let them know that feeling angry or sad is a natural part of our lives.

What you can do

Very young children benefit from having the full range of feelings acknowledged. Use reassuring language such as “I know you are feeling sad that Mommy is going to work. But remember how much fun you have at daycare. And I will be here to pick you up right after nap.”

Four and five year olds

Four and five year olds are able to express simple emotions such as being happy or sad but they will benefit from identifying the wide range of experiences that make them feel that way.

What you can do

As you read with your children, discuss the characters’ feelings and what the illustrations indicate about what caused them to feel that way. Help them differentiate feelings; for example, point out that sometimes we are sad because we are disappointed while other times our sadness comes from a sense of loss. Remind children that it is not wrong to feel anger, but that it is not all right to show anger by hurting another. Stress that we should use our words to work out problems.

Six and seven year olds

Six and seven year olds usually can express common feelings but they are also more conscious of how complex emotions can be.

What you can do

Be sure to make it comfortable for your child to talk out both positive and afflictive emotions. Have the child explore how to handle strong emotions, as well things to do to make him or herself feel better. For example, encourage children to vent negative feelings appropriately by using a punching bag or by writing or making a drawing about a troubling situation. Help your child develop a list of things that they like to do alone or with you or with friends. Emphasize the importance of doing things that help develop self-esteem, and a sense of well-being.

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