Share Thoughts and Feelings
Create “ME” bags to help you and your children share your feelings and thoughts more easily.
- Each person should decorate the outside of a paper bag to look like himself or herself. The bag can show only a face or can be the entire body. Tell your children that these bags now show the outside of themselves—what others see.
- Put things inside the bag that have special meaning. For example, your child might put a favorite stuffed toy or shirt in the bag.
- Use the bag to talk about yourselves. What is important to you? Why is something a favorite? What would you like to put in the bag but can’t?
- Remember to practice active listening.
Paper Plate Feelings
- You and your children can make faces on paper plates to show what you look like when you feel angry, sad, happy, proud, worried, etc.
- If your child is interested in learning to read, write the names of the feelings on the backs of the paper plate faces.
- Use the plates to talk about feelings. Hold a paper plate to your face and say how you’re feeling. For example, you might say:
- "I feel silly when I drop spaghetti on my shoes. What makes you feel silly?"
- "When someone borrows my things without asking, I tell them right away that I am angry and that they must ask me first. Then, I feel better. What do you do to stop being angry?"
- Ask your child to gather his or her toy trucks, trains, rockets—anything that can travel. Toy houses or buildings or building blocks are also useful.
- Ask, "If you could go anywhere, where would you go?"
- Give your child a large piece of paper and a pencil, crayons, or markers to draw a map of this place. Talk about the streets and sidewalks needed to get there and help your child draw these on the map.
- Add buildings and houses. Discuss who lives or works in the houses and buildings, what a visitor would find inside, and which ones your children or you would like to visit.
- Play with your children with the cars, trucks, etc. Talk about where the cars or trucks are going, who is driving them, the drivers’ plans, etc. Where are we going? Where are you going? What do you think you’ll see when you get there?
- Make up a funny story with your child. You can start the story with, "One day, a rabbit hopped into your bedroom." Or, "One of the children in the squirrel family that lives in the backyard was painting a beautiful picture in his room. He had an accident and spilled paint all over his rug!"
- Ask your child to add the next sentence.
- Keep the story going by adding sentences. Take all additions as a challenge to keep the story going.
- If you like, write the story down and share it later with the family.
Quiz for Parents: Active Listening Skills Quiz
Reprinted with the permission of the Department of Health and Human Services.
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