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How to have meaningful conversations with children is a hot topic. There is a growing recognition of the importance in helping young children begin to understand and discuss emotions and how this can, in turn, help develop a greater sense of self and enhance their social awareness.
Whilst we might all recognise the value in talking to our kids and creating an open environment in which to do so, everyday life so often gets in the way. Reducing the time or opportunity for any meaningful interaction. It can feel daunting to tackle something as big and important as your child’s emotions and perhaps the biggest challenge is knowing where to start.
I found myself in exactly this situation – overwhelmed by a work/life balancing act, starring two (now 3!) wonderful and exhausting kids. Worried about how little I was actually talking to them (rather than simply barking instructions.) I felt compelled to try and change things. To create something (a prop I guess), that could be used to begin conversations and encourage some thinking and talking. Based around everyday life but from a slightly different perspective.
And so I developed an Alphabet of Emotions – an A to Z of positive feelings (featuring pictures of animals with attitude!).
We began by taking a letter a night, thinking about the feelings it evoked, and then talking about it in the context of the school day.
It’s been a brilliant way for us to get the most from the limited time we get each evening. It’s now become part of the evening routine with my eldest in those last quiet minutes before bed.
Some nights obviously work better than others (and some nights just don’t work at all!) I learned more about my daughter’s school life in those first few weeks of doing this than I had all year.
There are a few things I’ve found really help us make the most of our time together.
My relationships with my kids are a work in progress but this has really helped us to explore their feelings and emotions in a positive way. It certainly sparked some meaningful conversations which I believe to be really beneficial to them, as well as to me.
It’s something we’re determined to keep up and I hope there’s something here to inspire you too.
Fearless Flamingo is a range of meaningful and mindful products designed to encourage children to explore their emotions and stimulate everyday positive expressions for the way we feel and behave. Created by illustrator Charlie Loxley, the range is inspired by her own three children as she watched them try to make sense of their emotions and feelings.