Building Your Child’s Emotional Language

Children learn about relationships through our actions and the words we use.  Teach your child that feelings are important by using key words. This will help your child see his needs as important and encourage self-awareness. You can do this by creating a box call Our Feelings.

boxHow to: Find an empty gift box. Label the box on the top, “Our Feelings.”

  • Print pictures of each family member and glue to each side of the box (if you have a big family, two or three people can share sides)
  • During family times, you can print out pictures of family members. Pictures that shows emotions (happy, sad, surprise etc.) Be sure to print out pictures of actions, for example, “You are running and attempting to catch a ball.” Maybe in the picture you look surprise, because you caught the ball.
  • Place several of each family member’s pictures in “Our Feelings box”
  • Play “I spy with my little eyes game.”  For younger children use the phrase “I see ….” For example, use carrier phrases such as,

I see ____________ (Child says the name of the person) as you point to the picture and state the emotions

I see mommy (child puts in action “mommy smiling)

I see (child’s name) ______ smiling)

Continue until all members of the family have had a turn. Key words during the game (smiling, hugging, playing, sad, laughing, mad, surprise etc.)  Talk to your child about what event created the feeling. Use simple words or phrases for example, “Mommy was happy because she got ice cream.”


Ufun 2015-01-21 022duak (Udie) Osom holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology from San Jose State University. Udie has served students of all ability levels from preschool through grade 12, for over 20 years. She is very passionate about neuro-developmental disabilities and social-cognitive disabilities. She is the owner/director of Innovative Therapy Services, a pediatric speech, language and social skills clinic in Santa Clara, CA. She can be reached at

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