Once children can perceive, name and understand what they are feeling, it will naturally lead onto teaching them how to manage their feelings, using a set of healthy strategies.
Please bear in mind that there are general developmental milestones in children, but to remember that each child’s needs are different and some children might do well with some strategies which might not work for other children. Also, some children might be ready to learn a specific skill at a different age to other children. So this metaphorical strategy tool box is something that we can draw from when needed and shelve those that don’t work for your child or come back to them when your child is a little older and the strategies may work for them then.
Just as we all learn differently, we also all process life and our emotions differently. To effectively teach children about emotional intelligence it would be beneficial to incorporate different styles of learning and emotional processing to cater for as many of the child’s needs as possible. Let’s have a look at different Learning Styles and Emotional Processing below.
Let’s look at the different learning styles first.
There are many theories on the styles of learning and there is something we can gain from all the different models. There are 3 basic styles of learning that we will be discussing here:
- Tactile-Kinesthetic (learning through moving, touching, doing)
- Auditory (learning through sound and music)
- Visual (learning from pictures);
and most children use a percentage of each style and may use different styles for different tasks. Hence our decision to include puppets, music, singing, colouring-in pictures and activity sheets as well as the story books, to enhance and use as many of the learning styles as possible.
There are also many theories on the way we process life and our emotions. Again, to simplify a huge subject we have taken an excerpt from ‘The Emotional Processing Website’, demonstrating unhealthy ways of emotional processing.
“This website is produced by the Clinical Research Unit,part of the National Health Service of the UK and Bournemouth University, Dorset, England.
Gestaltists recognise a whole range of ways in which we inhibit our energetic flow around emotions. The most commonly identified ones are:
- Desensitization – I do not even begin to experience something, such as an emotion
- Deflection – I take my awareness away from the emotion
- Introjection – I use an introjected rule or opinion to inhibit myself e.g. ‘It’s weak to have emotions’, ‘I won’t be able to cope if I let myself feel this’
- Projection – I see in others emotions that I deem unacceptable, but do not recognise them as part of my own experience
- Retroflection – I turn back in on myself emotions (e.g. anger) which actually need to be expressed to others, but which seems too difficult or frightening or unacceptable
- Spectatoring (also known as egotism) – I constantly block spontaneity of experience by running an internal commentary about my experience of an emotion, rather than fully experiencing it.
- Confluence – I over identify with an emotion, seeing it as all I am, and so am unable to separate from it and let it subside. This might also be a way in which I avoid moving into the ‘void’ part of the cycle, which in itself might be enormously frightening to me.”
‘The Emotional Processing Website’ also goes into many other related emotion concepts. For more information visit:
A child could process feelings through all of these ways and sometimes one can be predominant. Hence, our decision to write stories to show what unhealthy emotional processing can look like to a child and giving them alternative healthy strategies on how to let go and move forward positively.