This is a post out of the “31 Days of Morning Circles for the Child with Special Needs”. You can find the main page for this series here.
Note: If you’re reading this series for the first time, I suggest you look at the daily structure post to understand the routine we follow in our morning circle.
Talking about feelings can sometimes be tricky with a child with special needs. Luckily, our facial expressions reflect our emotions quite distinctively. Exaggerating expressions can really hit the target with a child who may otherwise be indifferent to others’ emotions. Working on feelings also helps a child with behavioral issues become more aware of his body signals before he has a meltdown.
In the morning circle, feelings can be experimented with by using a mirror. Since you are already sitting close to your child, your facial expressions can be better interpreted.
Don’t teach your child to too many emotions at once. Begin with one and work on that one for a few days before moving on to a second one. Once you have two emotions, you can play comparison games like “Show me happy” or “Show me sad” while pointing to images on flash cards, and eventually, in magazines.
Feelings activity in the morning circle:
Using emotions flash cards, talk about how your child is feeling today. Ask, “Are you scared?”, then reply, “Noooooo” (or “Yes!” if he is). Hold up the card showing scared. Continue this way until your child either lets you know how he’s feeling or, you decide based on his expressions (if he cannot do so for himself). Say, “Your mouth is up. You must be happy!” Then, show the happy card. Hold up the mirror to have him see his happy face!
The best feelings song you can use is “If You’re Happy and You Know It” (changing happy to sad, mad, scared, shy, surprised, silly, excited, sorry, etc.)
How can you incorporate feelings/ emotions in the morning circle?