When child is dealing with a chronic illness, it’s great to do activities with them that have an added emotional benefit. Your is likely dealing with some tough emotions. If he/she can release or process these emotions, it can be helpful.
An Emotion Felt Board can be a good tool. It has faces with different emotions. A child can choose the one(s) that match how he or she is feeling. You can print one out on the internet or buy one. It would also be fun to make one with your child. This activity takes some creativity, glue, felt, and cardboard.
To do this, cover a board with felt, then print and cut out faces with various expressions. You can use emogis or pictures of real people. Talk about them as you are gluing them to individual pieces of felt that can stick to the bigger board.
Asking questions like “How do you think this person is feeling?” When do you feel this way?” can be helpful. If your child is having a hard time sharing feelings you can role-model it on the simpler things. Don’t lay your heavy problems on your child and don’t do this when you are feeling too raw.
Let’s say, for example, you burn dinner. You can pick out a frustrated face or a sad face – or both and talk about it briefly, and put it on the big board. This may help your child to do the same with his/her feelings and come to see the benefits of naming emotions and that we can experience several emotions at once.
Let him/her know that you feel that way now but it can change. Then talk about something else and when you feel better, pick out a happy face. Always validate your child’s expression of feelings and the feelings themselves.
Young children may not have many words for many emotions. Fortunately, they can get pretty far with “Mad, Bad, Sad, and Glad” until they are ready for more nuanced discussion.