Exploring Emotions: Create a Feelings Journal

This journal writing activity is good way to understand your child's emotions, allow him to express his feelings, and analyze social situations.

In this article, you will find:

Understanding Emotions

Once your child has started to develop a wider emotional vocabulary and a better understanding of how to interact in social situations, creating a Feelings Journal is a good way to keep track of those emotions and interactions. It gives him a chance to practice writing, and also gives him a safe place to look more carefully at what he's feeling, when he's feeling it, and to come up with his own ideas of how to handle difficult social situations. There are a few different types of Feelings Journals he can keep, depending on his interest, age, and skill level.

Skills Being Practiced

  • Written communication
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Vocabulary
  • Recognizing social cues
  • Social problem solving
  • Identifying emotions

A Good Feelings Journal

A Good Feelings journal is an easy way for your younger child to start identifying positive emotions, and things that make him feel those emotions. This journal combines writing and drawing, and can be used daily or just once in a while.

What You Need

  • Pencil
  • Crayons or markers
  • Blank paper
  • Brass fasteners
  • Single-hole punch
  • Big List of Feelings

How to Make a Good Feelings Journal

1. With your child, go over the Big List of Feelings you previously created together, and ask him to circle all the words that go with feeling good. Remind him that "happy" is just one word that expresses positive feelings. If he's having trouble, or if you haven't made a Big List of Feelings, then sit down with him and talk to him about other words that he might use, like "silly," "excited," or "goofy."
2. After you have a substantial list of good feelings words, talk to your child about when he might experience those emotions. Does he feel happy when he spends time with you? Is he excited to go to birthday parties? Does he act or feel goofy when he's swimming with his friends?
3. For each situation he comes up with, give him a piece of paper and ask him to draw a picture that matches the situation he has described. Then ask him to write or dictate a sentence or two beneath the picture that tells what is going on, and which includes the feeling word.
4. Add a few pieces of blank paper to his drawings, gather them in a neat pile, and punch two holes at the top. Secure them with brass fasteners and tell your child this is now his Good Feelings Journal.
5. Encourage your child to draw and write in his journal at least a few times a week, when he experiences something particularly positive, or as a way to keep track of things he'd like to do that would make him happy. You can add more paper as it is needed. Over time, you and your child can look back and see how much he has grown in his ability to write and express emotions.