Imagine that you’re gripped by emotion. Imagine it’s an emotion that you don’t like, but you don’t know what it’s called or how to make it go away.
Preschoolers experience a wide range of feelings but don’t always know how to express them. Identifying and responding to one’s own emotions is an important component of emotional literacy, which has been shown to help children handle frustration better, get into fewer fights, and be more focused.
To help your child build emotional literacy, check out this tip from one of our resident preschool teachers on how to create a “cozy corner” for your child to experience their emotions safely at home:
1. Tell your child that you’re going to create a special space for them to use when they’re feeling upset. Have your child help you create a cozy space using their favorite pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals. It can be in a corner of their bedroom or a corner of the living room—wherever your child will be most comfortable.
2. Whenever your child gets upset, offer the cozy corner as a place for them to calm down. Say something like, “I can tell that you’re upset right now. Do you want to spend some time in the cozy corner?” Help your child to understand that the cozy corner is a place they can go whenever they’re feeling angry, sad, or frustrated and that they’re invited to leave it whenever they’re feeling better.
3. At first, you may need to help your child identify times when the cozy corner is a good idea. However, your child will eventually recognize when they want and need space for their emotions. It’s important to remember that the cozy corner is never a place for a time out or punishment. Instead, it should be an empowering place where your child is allowed to experience their emotions safely.
Once your child has come out of the cozy corner, you can have a conversation with them about what upset them and what, if anything, you can both do differently next time!
We would love to hear your thoughts on this activity, as well as suggestions on future topics to cover! Please leave a comment.