I have found that in child therapy, children always benefit from emotional identification. No matter the diagnosis or symptomology, children need to know how to communicate their emotional experience to others. As a therapist, it is always helpful to have an array of interventions focusing on emotional identification.
I created this intervention specifically for some active early childhood males that I worked with. I found that many of the clients that I worked with were unable to sit down and engage in a directive intervention focusing on feelings. I decided to create something for my active kiddos and in doing so came up with “Target Your Emotions.”
Here is what you need:
-Nerf gun or ball
Prior to the child coming into the room, put the feeling faces around the room. I love to put them in sneaky places around the room to make it more fun for my kiddos! These will be the “targets” in the game. I recommend at least having the basic feelings (happy, sad, scared, angry) and, depending on the client, expanding the faces to include other emotions (nervous, worried, surprised, excited etc.)
When the child enters the room, introduce the activity. State that they will be shooting the nerf gun or throwing the ball at the various emotions in the room.
I start by having the child identify the various emotions. “Shoot the happy face,” “Shoot the sad face.”
After we label all of the feelings, I then instruct the child to identify the feeling in a situation. For example, I say “how would you feel if you were able to eat ice cream for dinner?” or “how would you feel if you were fighting with your sibling?”
If the child is still engaged, I then have the identify the feeling face and tell me a time they felt that way.
I find that this is a great intervention, especially for kiddos who are very active and have a tough time sitting still. What are some active interventions that you have used with your clients?