Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Guest Post: Helping Children with Their Internal World

I'm so excited to have my first guest post today!  Deanne Yalkin has been working with children and adolescents for over 15 years and has a wealth of knowledge on how to help children understand their inner emotions.  I feel so lucky to have her wisdom in my life and I know that you will take away something valuable from her words today!

Photo Courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt via Flick Creative Commons

Kids, teens and adults (all humans, really :) ) use stories to help them make sense of our world. Sometimes this means the world around us - but often times it means our INTERNAL world - a world teeming with thoughts, feelings, wishes, desires and intentions.  EVERY child's internal world is under initial contruction - shifting, stretching, and developing by way of wonders & fears, joy & disappointment, learning & refining, connecting & misunderstanding, confusion & 'knowing'.  This internal world is crucial to the development of a sense of self in childhood.

One of the greatest powers we have as parents is the power to ACKNOWLEDGE and HONOR our child's unique internal landscape.  Books can help provide a child with a verbal map - one their child can use to begin to share their internal world. 
Many parents find it helpful to use books to introduce basic terms and definitions of feelings.  Learning to identify and verbalize internal feeling states lays the foundation for important life skills like impulse control, problem solving and conflict resolution. 

The following early childhood books are particularly effective at introducing terms and desciptions of basic feeling states.  Young children seem to appreciate the fun, playful and creative way these authors present human emotions!

     The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
     Lots of Feelings by Shelly Rotner
     How Are You Peeling?: Foods with Moods by Freymann & Elffers
     The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
     My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuess

Deanne Yaklin, LCSW Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist

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