Let's Talk About Emotions

Tip-Translate your child's nonverbal behavior into words. Behavior is communication and behavior can be interpreted and translated into words. This is most especially true about behavior that communicates emotions. Say what your child is feeling and they will learn the words or at least know that they have been understood.

If Your Child is Sad...

or is mad, excited, happy or scared--this is something to talk about. JASON LIKES TRUCKS! JASON IS HAPPY! This is what you can say when Jason runs to pick up his truck when he gets home. When daddy picks Jason up to take him to get a bath, and Jason screams and flails, you can say JASON IS MAD, DADDY! JASON WANTS TO PLAY TRUCK! You can say this for Jason because he does not have the words to say this yet. If you are talking to daddy for Jason, look at Daddy but stand close to Jason. Daddy can still take Jason's truck if it is time and put Jason in the bath, but as he does, Daddy can sadly say, I KNOW, JASON IS SAD. ALL DONE TRUCK, TIME FOR BATH.

It is tempting to say things like ALLIE WILL BE FINE, ALLIE IS A BIG GIRL when your child skins her knee and cries but instead say OWIE! ALLIE'S KNEE IS HURT! You can see a skinned knee but you are teaching the words for when Allie's tummy is hurting and she needs to know how to tell you. And, in my experience, Allie will recover from the pain faster and Jason will get over being angry faster if they know that someone understands. They don't need to keep crying just to be sure that you know something is wrong.

There are so many possible first words to teach.

It is often hard for parents or others to figure out good first words to teach late talking children. The best words are words that express emotion or are at least touched by anger, disappointment, worry, loss, fear, surprise--these are among the easiest first words to teach.

Tip-Good Words to Teach:

First emotion words:

mad/angry ***sad***scared ***happy ***excited ***surprised

Later emotion words:


Other feeling tinged words:

Heavy *** Stuck *** Broken *** Uh Oh *** Yikes *** Hot *** Cold *** Wet *** Sticky *** OW *** Mmmmm *** Yummy *** Yuck *** Nice***Bumpy *** Lost *** MIne *** No *** Hug *** eat/hungry *** water/thirsty/drink