Understand how your child is feeling

”How was school today?” - ”Fine.” How many parents have experienced that the conversation with their child ends there? You can use this exercise to get a better understanding how your child is feeling. Several siblings can easily participate.

If you want to understand how your child is feeling this exercise will help your child communicate and enable you to better understand your child’s feelings.

  1. Sit down at a table with your child and make sure that the atmosphere is warm and comfortable. Lay out a Pocket Set on the table like a memory game, but with the images facing up.
  2. First, you ask your child to flip over any picture cards they don’t want to look at.
  3. Then you introduce the topic that you want your child to open up about and ask them to choose a picture that can help them answer. Below are some examples, but be sure to choose your own approach. It is very important to keep to a single topic for the conversation.
    ”How are you today?”
    ”What happened in school today?”
    ”What did you do after school today?”
    ”What did you do at the school camp/scout camp?”
    ”What do you think about the summer holidays?”
  4. When the child has talked about their picture, you can ask follow-up questions like:
    “You said that…. Can you tell me more about that?”
    ”I do not quite understand – could you please help me?”
    ”Why did you do/think so?”
  5. If the child has difficulties elaborating, choosing another picture can help them.
  6. When the child talks about something that makes them happy, sad, mad, etc., you can ask them to choose a card showing how they experience this feeling.
  7. If the child tells you something unpleasant or worrying, you can ask:
    ”Has this anything to do with the card you turned upside down?”
  8. Then you can ask the child to choose two picture cards illustrating what they – or others – could do to have the unpleasant thing stop.
  9. If the card facing down has not already been included in the conversation, you can now – without turning the card – ask why the child did not like this card. Ask if you may pick it up so you can see it and talk about it indirectly: ”When I look at the card it makes me think…”
  10. You can continue the conversation with more questions and let the child choose more cards as long as the child seems comfortable with the conversation.

In order to understand how your child is feeling, you can also let the child place the cards in a row or as a mosaic in front of them. At the end of the conversation, you can look at the cards together and you can ask the child what they think about the conversation you have had. 



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