The other day I was walking my dog, Ellie, in the park. A father and daughter were walking behind us. We were keeping our social distance and so they were back several feet. I could hear her chattering away about COVID-19. She sounded about 10 years old and so matter of fact. I thought to myself, “WOW will this will be part of our normal vocabulary going forward? Will wearing masks and keeping our distance become a part of our regular behavior? Does this give kids one more thing to worry about like drills for what to do when there is a shooter in the school? Or why we have long security lines and guard dogs at the airports?”
I work with people every day who often grew up feeling anxious about one thing or another, sometimes it has become debilitating other times it shows up as a limiting belief blocking them from achieving a goal they are working on. While sometimes people have truly tragic things happen to them as children, it is a normal reaction for all children to feel uneasy about what is going on in the world or pick up on their parent’s concerns and worries. Now more than ever it is good to talk to our kids about their feelings and give them loving ways to work through them.
I created this simple Coloring Book to help you talk to your children about feelings. It would be a great activity to use while home schooling. Allow your children to pick the color they want to use. Allow them to be creative and think outside the lines if they want to. In the book I refrain from using the word bad to talk about emotions because I think it is important for children to recognize all emotions are helpful. Some just aren’t as fun to experience as others. But they are all valid.
Creativity is another way to work through emotions and is good for kids and adults. In fact, I have paper always ready in my office for me to color on. Here is my latest crazy masterpiece. My son came in the other day and noticed it. He asked if my 2-year-old granddaughter had been there. I told him nope just “little Kim” needed to come out and play for a bit. Coloring is a great way to have a gentle conversation about the pandemic with your children and explore if your children are experiencing emotions, they aren’t quite sure how to handle or process.
There are many cool books and fun games out now that help kids think about emotions and how to manage them. I have listed some of my favorites below.
I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the power of EFT or tapping. Use the following simplified version of the personal peace process to help you and your children end their day. As you are tucking your children in ask them, “what did you like or not like about today?”, “what felt good or not so good about today?”, as they relay the events of the day gently tap on the tapping points or rub the points. This helps them get rid of all the garbage they may have absorbed throughout the day rather than it being reinforced in their minds. It dumps out the trash so to speak and can even help them rest and get better sleep. As your children are talking, remember it doesn’t matter whether the child’s interpretation is reasonable, what matters to a child’s psyche is the effect the event had on them and the emotions they were feeling. You can ask probing questions to help them work through things or even provide some re-framing to help them look at things from a different perspective. If for example they are talking about a scary monster they saw on TV, while tapping you can say “Monsters on TV aren’t real”. When you are tapping it is more likely your child will absorb the message than if you are just talking about it.
I hope you enjoy the coloring book. If you have questions or suggestions, I would love to hear them.