We are definitely emotional creatures and that is what it is to be human. It takes a long time to get a handle on this behavior and starting early is paramount. Being a parent has its trials and tribulations when teaching our children how to behave. Children are not only influenced with what adults demonstrate to them but what other children teach them. Parents often find themselves in a quandary as how to approach certain emotional behaviors their children throw out and end up doing the wrong thing or perhaps ignoring the behavior all together simply because they don't recognize it. Gee, you just about have to be a child psychiatrist.
You can play games to help children
If you have a young child of preschool age, there's a game you can play in the mirror. It's referred to as the "mirror faces". It's very simple to do and teaches basic emotions involving happiness, sadness and anger. You simply stand in front of a mirror with your child and verbally and facially express an emotion and tack on an animal sound for association. Give this a try: "I am a happy cow moo, moo, moo" and smile or perhaps laugh. Also try "I am an angry bear r-o-a-r!" Before long, your child will begin reciting the sentence and taking on the appropriate tone of voice and facial expression associated with happiness and anger. This is very simple as you can see and the child learns quickly.
Another game you can play is called "I feel happy when (place your own phrase here)". You can do this at meal times or perhaps when your in the car. Try a wide range of emotions here for example, "I feel happy when I play with Rusty my dog" and smile. I get angry when (put your phrase here)". Continue to lead in with a sentence and let the child join in and repeat it a few times and then move on to another emotion.
Then, let your child initiate his/her own emotion. Make sure you don't criticize what your child says just respect it and listen. Your child is teaching you now. This allows for proper emotional development in a safe place.
Yet another game you can play is "Who's in there". This makes use of your child's imagination and allows them to visualize his/her emotions internally. For example, "Where is your dolly and is she pretty". The child may respond with "My dolly is on the bed and see is very pretty". All the while, your child is smiling (she is pretty is a happy emotion). You want to be in another room so your child has to call up memory and see something in his/her mind's eye. It won't take long before your child will be able to express all kinds of emotions to you both verbally and facially. All of these exercises can help children learn emotions, be able to express them and cope with them in a healthy way. Keep in mind that you are working together and that will help with establishing a strong bond.