Our therapist explained that if we could help him identity his true feelings, we can begin training him on how to self-soothe. So the first thing she suggested was using a facial expression mood chart and having him pick out the expression he is feeling inside. You can find these charts online by googling images or may have seen them hanging in your therapist’s office.
I told my son that he looked upset and asked, “What are you feeling?” He had trouble putting it into words so I had him look over the facial expression chart and asked him to pick out what he was feeling inside.
He calmed down, looking curious about this game mom was offering and selected the “sad face”. So I said, “so you’re feeling sad?” With a big pout he nodded, “yes”. Then I asked him what he could do to make himself happy, while pointing to the “happy face”. At first he said, “I don’t know.” Then I encouraged him to really think about it. Then he said, “Play another game?” I praised his conclusion and thankfully he was able to move on to another game.
So is this easy as cake? Not so much. The next time I tried to encourage our son to self-soothe he was more resistant. Our therapist explained that this method will need to be done many times a day in order for him to slowly learn how to do this on his own and as a result be more in control of his emotions.
So has anyone else used these charts for therapy with their kids and care to share?