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Make an Emotions Book

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A picture of a girl reading an emotions book with her mom

Make an emotions book with your child to help her understand her feelings.

Photo © Jamie Grill / Getty Images
Make an emotions book to teach kids how to deal with their feelings. They'll be better able to express their emotions, which can save you from major meltdowns.

What you need to make an emotions book:

  • Camera
  • Printer
  • Paper
  • Photo subjects
  • Printed photographs
  • Scrapbook or photo album
Ask your friends and family to be photo subjects for your book. Take pictures of your child, friends and family members expressing the following emotions:
  • Annoyed
  • Happy
  • Love
  • Sad
  • Mad
  • Scared
  • Surprised
You can always add more emotion words and photos to your book after your children learn the basics. For now, you'll ask your photo subjects to pose for each one of the emotions on the list. For example, grandma may point at her dog who tore up the newspaper for "annoyed," she may be looking at a picture of her kids for "happy," steal a kiss from grandpa for "love" and so on. Or you can keep your camera work simple and take great photos of every photo subject looking directly into the camera expressing each emotion.

Be sure you ask your children to participate as photo subjects. It's important they make faces to show off their emotions too.

Use a word processing program to type each emotion word on its own piece of paper. These pages will serve as an introduction to the emotion you're teaching. Use a large, bold font so your children can learn the name of the emotion and practice their reading skills.

Print all of your photographs. Separate the photographs by emotion. Each emotion will have its own section filled with photographs of people showing that emotion. Use a scrapbook or photo album to affix your introductory pages and photos.

After your book is finished, go over each page with your children. Show them the word expressing the emotion, such as "mad," and point to each picture saying the word to reinforce the emotion.

Talk to your children about their emotions as they read the book you made with them. As you show them the many faces you've taken pictures of together, ask them questions about that emotion. You might ask, "What makes you mad?" This helps give them a deeper understanding of each emotion.

In your daily life, your kids start to give you cues that their many moods are about to change. The emotions they feel are hard for them to pinpoint but you can remind them of their emotions book.

"You're sad your friend is leaving," you might say after you notice your child is about to shift his post-play date mood. Nip the full-on temper tantrum by reminding her of the sad faces in his book, ask her to make a happy face and break out the emotions book to go over all of the feelings you've collected together in his book.

The emotions book isn't an afternoon project you'll never use again once it's complete. It's an excellent tool you will continually use as your children learn more complex feelings and the book can show them how to deal with them as well.

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