Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Tips for talking about feelings with your toddler

Acknowledge feelings:

Acknowledge your young child’s feelings: “Jack I see that you are feeling a bit angry at the moment”. It is important to connect with young children emotionally. We call this emotional connection – atunement. It can be done through physical touch, empathetic facial expressions, nurturing tone of voice and non-judgemental listening. Remember younger children live completely in the moment, may be frightened by their own emotions and are only beginning to develop their language skills. They are not able to quickly engage the part of their brain that might help them control their own emotions.

Play the ‘name the feelings’ game.

Make some emotional faces and see if your child can copy you and maybe guess the emotion. Try putting on a ‘happy’ face and say “look I’m happy now, can you be happy too”. Then, put on a ‘surprised’ face and ask your child to copy you.

Play ‘Name the Feeling’

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