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Tools to Help Children Express Concerns and Strong Emotions

It is natural for both children and adults to express strong emotions when dealing with the everyday stresses of medical diagnoses and cares. But our clinical social worker, Monica Oberg, has created some tools to help people of all ages express and manage their emotions. We have discussed the importance of addressing emotional health in addition to physical health, and see the benefits of mental health counseling for individuals at PHS thanks to our therapy options for children and adults.

Addressing emotions isn’t something that is only be done at a counseling appointment – it’s a skill that everyone should become comfortable recognizing throughout their day to day lives, and able to respond to in a manner that is effective for that individual. Monica has begun teaching this lesson to clients in her sibling support program with the introduction of a worry box – you may have also seen her introduce it in the recent Facebook live video.

Understanding feelings and emotions

This video explains an activity to get your child to open up about the feelings and sensations they are feeling in their body. Watch the video below to learn all about an activity to try with your kiddos!

how to help children express strong emotions

Using art for self-expression

Children may not always have words to express their emotions. This mental health activity shows how to use art to help children express emotions they may not have the words to explain.

how to get children to express emotions through art

Making an anger cube

In this video, Monica describes how to make an anger cube – a tool your child can use to help manage their feelings when they’re experiencing that strong emotion.

Helping your child make an anger cube to express emotions

A Worry Box in 5 Steps

Worry and fear can be all-consuming emotions for the person who is trying to manage them. Quite simply, a worry box is a place to ‘store’ your worries, fears, or other strong emotions. By writing out a worry, it can live somewhere other than your brain, and can be stored until you’re ready to address it later or tear it up after it’s passed.

“It’s a holding place for those really strong emotions that we need to recognize and want to put in a safe place,” says Monica.

We’re putting the simple steps together for assembling your very own worry box  (it’s great for kids AND adults) below – share a picture on our Facebook page of what you or your child chose to feature on their worry box!

  1. Find a box – any kind. From a tissue box to  a pencil or tea tin, anything you have handy will work.
  2. how to make a worry box in 5 simple stepsTape or glue paper onto the box – this will make it easier to decorate
  3. Add words – you can write them on with a marker or crayon, find them in a magazine or newspaper, or buy foam letters at a store to create words yourself. Find words that represent how you feel or want to feel in relation to your worries.
  4. Find inspiring photos – are there any personal photos or pictures you’ve seen online or in print that inspire you or help you feel positive despite your worries? Paste them on your box for a dose of encouragement every time you look at  it.
  5. Add any worries – maybe you have some in mind  that you’d  like to write down or come back to this step later, but knowing you have this tool ready for you might already help you feel ready to focus on your emotional health.
Originally published: August 2, 2017