I’ve been thinking a lot about how we share our own emotions with children, especially our big emotions like frustration, anger, over excitement, sadness and so on. I know as educators we are asked to leave our emotions at the door but this is so hard to do! I agree with this idea but at the same time I don’t. One of the ways we teach children how to express their feelings in a safe and healthy way is by being a model.
On Friday, a child woke up from nap and rested on their mat for awhile. Then almost as if they had just realized that I was in the room, they crawled between two sleeping children and started laughing. If you work with multiple children and they nap in your care, I’m sure you can relate to the frustration of one child waking up another. It was already a very different nap time in our room so I was more emotional than normal. I went over to the child and said “I’m so mad right now, you should be on your mat.” I was calm yet firm, my face matched the tone in my voice and the child turned right around and went straight back to their mat.
This was so surprising! I honestly was not expecting it; I thought that child would smile at me and laugh some more (I was expecting this and prepared for it). I wonder if being so honest with how I was feeling and being authentic had anything to do with the child’s response. I don’t normally share with the children when I’m feeling frustrated, angry or upset because I’m just not quite sure how. I don’t want the child to think that I’m mad at them because I’m not. I’m upset with the behavior and myself for being so upset. It’s important to me to be honest with children, to be authentic, to mean what I say and say want I really mean.
If you have any suggestions about how to share your feelings with a child please write a comment! I would love to hear your experiences and ideas.