Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Teaching Children to "Go to Neutral"

I teach children that feelings can be classified along a continuum from unpleasant (fear) to neutral (calm) to pleasant (love). Just like the saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything." "If you can't have a pleasant emotion, don't FEEL anything." In our society today there is a tendency to always want to be happy, of course that is not realistic. When we are faced with what we perceive as a difficult situation, we typically experience unpleasant feelings. I don't use the terms positive and negative with children because I want them to understand all feelings are okay. I am a very visual person so I use charts like the one pictured here to show the continuum to children. I also have good luck with some kids by having them put their hands out in front of themselves, palms facing, and moving their hands apart (up and down) for first a foot and then two feet. I explain that up a foot is pleasant and down a foot is unpleasant. Then we talk about the space in between being neutral. The good thing about using the hands is you always have them with you. I then teach them to make a positive statement (inside their head) that directs them when they face a difficult situation, "Relax, put your hand up, go to neutral, think pleasant thoughts."

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this idea. I made a similar chart with my kids today to teach them how to properly express their emotions while showing them that it is OK to have unpleasant feelings. This was really helpful. I am linking back to you tomorrow at