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How to Use Colors to Talk About Emotions with Kids

Updated: Oct 7, 2022

It can be hard for kids to talk about BIG emotions because they might not have the words yet. Depending on their age, they might shut down completely or throw a tantrum because they don’t know another way to verbally tell you what they are feeling. It all just feels BIG to their little bodies.

Think about it. How often are YOU (an adult) able to recognize, let alone, articulate exactly what you are feeling every time an emotion comes through?

Sure, the more mindful and in touch with our emotional body we are, the easier it is for us to fully FEEL, sit with, and learn from our emotions. This is very important but it takes practice and patience!

Oftentimes we are taught that certain emotions like anger, sadness and fear are “bad” and emotions like joy, excitement and love are “good.”

Instead of labeling emotions as “good” or “bad,” try using colors!

Colors are one of the first things kids start to recognize, identify and sort into different categories. Colors are everywhere in our lives. We see them everyday, in every shade, size, and shape.

There are no “bad” colors. Just like there are no "bad" emotions.

One way to explain this to children is to remind them that if we didn’t experience ALL of the colors, then we wouldn’t have RAINBOWS!

Just like if we didn’t experience ALL emotions, we wouldn’t experience all of the magic in life.

Next time your child is having a hard time finding words to explain how they are feeling, ask them to show you with COLORS!

Say: “It might be hard to explain how you are feeling right now. Maybe you can show me with a color. If you were a color right now, which one would you be?”

Why is this helpful?

1. There’s no right or wrong answer to this question! Feeling like the color RED to one person might mean angry, but to another might mean excited! Certain shades of BLUE might make us feel sad sometimes or calm another time. And so on.

2. Getting children coloring teaches mindfulness since it gives them something to focus their attention on so they can start to calm down their bodies.

3. It’s a calm, quiet activity that opens up space to have a conversation when they’re ready.

The Find Your Shine companion workbook to my children’s book, Sunny Finds her Shine, has a variety of activities that build mindfulness, emotional-intelligence and creative expression in children!

For more useful tips and engaging activities for kids, subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on IG: @findyourshinekids!


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