Halloween, like most celebrations and events in 2020, will be different this year.
As families reconsider Halloween traditions, children, youth, and parents will need to adapt, and change can be difficult to navigate. Other aspects of Halloween, like spooky costumes, haunting stories, socially distanced trick-or-treating and the sugar crash can also stir a big cauldron of emotions for children and youth.
How can we help children and youth manage these emotions and become more self-aware of how they are feeling? Practicing emotional awareness can help!
What is emotional awareness?
Emotional awareness is the ability to recognize and make sense of your emotions. Having high levels of emotional awareness means you can learn from your feelings quickly, and find positive tools to help you cope.
Why is emotional awareness important?
Emotions play an important role in how we perceive and interact with our world. Building our emotional awareness can help us:
- Recognize and name our emotions.
- Learn how to tame our emotions and practice positive coping tools.
- Express and effectively communicate how we are feeling with others.
- Notice the emotions of others and demonstrate empathy skills.
Practicing emotional awareness early can help children and youth experience these benefits and also develop their sense of self.
Halloween-themed Emotional Awareness Activities
Emotional awareness can be practiced at any time, but special events and holidays can help start the discussion. Try these Halloween-themed activities to help your child build their emotional awareness skills, and have fun while doing it!
Carve Out Your Feelings
An important aspect of emotional awareness is being able to recognize and name different emotions. Enhancing your child’s emotional vocabulary can help them learn how to express their feelings more effectively, while also learning coping tools they can use to manage these emotions. At Dolphin Kids we say, “If you can name it, you can tame it!”
Guide children through activities that encourage them to practice naming emotions. Try our Halloween-themed feeling faces worksheet.
As your child fills out the emotions, ask them prompting questions like:
- “Have you ever felt this emotion before?”
- “What could cause someone to feel this emotion?”
- “How do you think you could overcome this feeling?”
Don’t Let the “Thought Monsters” Take Over
Positive self-talk seems simple, but it’s not always easy to do. Our brain’s negativity bias encourages us to magnify the negative and not the positive. When we feel scared, angry, or anxious, positive self-talk can help us calm our minds and bodies down.
Reminding ourselves that we are smart, happy, and strong can help us focus on the positive and channel our energy into critical thinking and solving any obstacles in front of us.
Practice turning negative statements into positive ones. Try our “Banish the Boo’s!” worksheet, and discuss how positive thinking is a skill that needs consistent practice.
Practice Deep Breathing Skills
Deep breathing is one of the most powerful coping tools children, youth, and adults can use! Taking a few deep breaths can get us out of our freeze, fight, and flight stress response, help us think clearer, and feel more positive when faced with adversity.
Try these deep breathing activities with your child and discuss how these exercises can be used on a daily basis.
- Rainbow Breathing with Dolphin Kids
- Dragon Breathing with Mindfulness for Kids
- Bubble Breathing with GoNoodle
Emotional awareness can be practiced at any time, during any event, holiday, or celebration. Halloween can provide us with an opportunity to have more discussions with our children about emotions, and practice positive coping tools to become more self-aware and in control of our feelings. Deep breathing, positive thinking, and practicing our emotional vocabulary and three ways we can increase our emotional awareness and ability to express and regulate our emotions effectively.
If you use any of our Halloween-themed resources, we’d love your feedback! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments on how these activities worked with your child.
Have a wonderful, safe, and fun Halloween!