So our little Happy Explorer has big emotions. I mean BIG emotions! My favourite moment was an intense meltdown that lasted for an hour because there was no sushi in the fridge... It was 6am.
Being a teacher I've of course researched theories on behaviour and development and googled everything from 'how to develop emotional awareness in toddlers' to 'helping your child to stop throwing blocks at you'! There are theories and ten step programs that range from send him to timeout and lock the door, to sit and cuddle while singing a song!
And so I've concluded that just like there's no one way to teach the children in my class to read, there's no one way to help Master H cope with these big emotions.
I have turned to books as my main support. Picture story books that help unpack what he is feeling and facilitate a discussion between us. There are a lot of books out there that talk about feelings. Some directly address them and others have a stronger storyline and require more explanation for youngsters.
Our favourite by far is the Playdate Pals series. Books such as Squirrel is Sad, Sheep is Scared and Hippo is Happy. That's why we've chosen Hippo is Happy to feature in our Feelings Box. The illustrations are bold and bright and the storyline is easy for little ones to make connections. You can check out our Feelings Box on our website.
Spending time together reading and talking is very special. It gives us quiet quality time, just the two of us. We read, talk and unpack the ideas. We also talk about things that have happened to our Master H that make him feel happy, sad, scared or angry. Making connections between the text and his own life helps link his own emotions and responses.
I hear you already, time! Together! Just the two of you!!!!! And yeah I get it, because I feel it too. Working full time in a demanding teaching position and finding time to spend with my family is a challenge, ok at times it seems impossible. But I've found that bedtime has become our quiet time together. I put the phone away, close the laptop and we read, talk and catch up. That's our quality time. It may only be 15 minutes, but it's undivided attention and focused on us connecting.
It's amazing what a cuddle, good book and chat can do to build your relationship with your little one and help them feel safe, secure and heard.