I love this little book of mine because it is a simple (and therefore easy to use) way of helping children become more emotionally literate. It does not go into a lot of detail about what each emotion feels like (although there is a little comment about each emotion on every page) or what might have caused you to feel any particular emotion but what it does do is suggest things you could do when you experience one of twelve emotions.
The big lesson from this for children is that while we cannot (and should not try to) stop ourselves from feeling different emotions, we do actually have control over what we choose to do when any particular emotion comes upon us. When children receive this valuable lesson, they are much less likely to act in damaging ways when, for example they are feeling powerful negative emotions like anger.
When we feel anger, it can take six seconds for our adrenaline to subside after the ’cause’ has disappeared. If we act in those six seconds, we are unlikely to make wise choices about what we do. In using this book a child would go through the process of identifying their emotion, turn to the page that represents that emotion and look at several choices of what they could do when they are feeling that way and make a choice about what to do. This puts a gap between stimulus and action and this can make a child’s responses more considered and ultimately help them to engage this or a similar process rather than reacting in the heat of the moment.