Children and adolescents (and even adults) can find it difficult to express exactly how they’re feeling. Sometimes the feelings are too overwhelming and it becomes impossible to talk about, and sometimes we just don’t want to talk. As a parent it can become disheartening when your child doesn’t want to share with you how they’re feeling and not knowing can lead to you feeling helpless, and your child feeling unheard.
A Feeling Wheel is a helpful way for a child to express how they’re feeling. It provides them with a tool to find the words for what is going on for them internally. A feeling wheel looks a little like this…
The above is a useful place to start if your child doesn’t have much knowledge of feelings and how to put their feelings into words.
For a learning opportunity, I like to make my own feeling wheels with the kids. A blank feeling wheel allows the children to pick certain feelings (creating a space to learn about what feelings people can experience, when they may experience them, and what they may look like). The blank wheel also allows the child to pick the colours they associate with a particular feeling. While red is generally known as the universal colour for anger, it may not be for a particular child. They are able to create their own associations.
Once you have created the feeling wheel with a child it is helpful to put an arrow and split pin in the middle. This way your child can come home from school or a visit with a friend and move the arrow to one of the feelings. This process eliminates talking if your child doesn’t want to talk, but still allows you to have some insight into what is going on with your child.
JaMonkey has also created this really cool ‘Inside Out’ Feeling Wheel. This can be downloaded by clicking here. This is especially nice if your child has watched Inside Out as it will be meaningful for them.