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Naming emotions

Top tip

Naming emotions

What to do with this activity?

Knowing the right words to express feelings and emotions is very important for your child. It can reduce frustration and misunderstanding on all sides.

Give them the words to tell you how they are feeling through every day conversations. For instance, "You are always happy to see your little sister aren't you?". "Are you excited about going swimming tomorrow?". Encourage them to tell you how they are feeling. Help them to think why they feel the way they feel. 

Here are some words that might express how your child is feeling: sad, happy, shy, worried, cross, afraid, frustrated, silly, giggly, scared, excited, grumpy, lonely, sleepy.

Stories are a great way to understand and learn the words for emotions, and to learn to recognise and name emotions in others. That will help your child with relationships.


  • Why am I doing this?

    Reading aloud combines the benefits of talking, listening and storytelling within a single activity and helps to build the foundation for language development. From stories your child learns many things such as how to listen and concentrate, new words and understand why things happen. They also learn to put ideas in order, develop their memory skills, notice how spoken words relate to words on the page and learn how to predict. Reading gives your child a chance to develop their own opinions, build visual skills and learn how to handle books.

  • How can I do more?

    If you can spare 10 minutes a day to read with your child you can make a huge difference to their development. You don’t have to read a book, you could read a comic, magazine article or a story you have made up yourself. The most important thing is that you enjoy it, that way your child will too.

    Remember a good storybook is one that you the reader and your child find interesting. It might be funny or entertaining. Ask yourself whether your child would enjoy it and be able to listen to it. Are the pictures well drawn? Is it well written? Do you like it? You may be the one reading it, over and over, and over!

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