Stories & Wellbeing

Sharing stories with your child is a powerful way to help them manage their feelings, express themselves and make sense of their world.

You will need:

There are many great books that specifically explore emotions, but you can find feelings in any story you read. Books that focus on feelings, unfamiliar experiences, or new situations that children may find challenging or scary can be really useful in the early years.

The activity:

  • Try and find some ‘together time’, where you can snuggle up in a cosy space for storytime.
  • When you’re reading to your child, ask them to help you figure out what the main character is feeling in certain situations. Use the pictures and the plot as clues to help.
  • As you share the story, ask questions, and encourage your child to think, and talk, about how they would feel or behave in similar situations. Be creative and relaxed when sharing stories, it’s ok to go off script. Follow your child’s lead and the aspects of the story they are interested in. It’s ok if your child doesn’t engage with the questions, they may just want to listen to the story.

Extending the activity:

  • Make a Big List of Feelings. Grab a big piece of paper and a marker and sit down with your child to brainstorm all the feelings you can think of. Make the face that goes with the feeling and explain a situation in which that feeling may come up.
  • Talk to your child about what sensations they feel in their bodies when they are feeling a certain way. If they are angry, do they feel this in their head or tummy? Do they feel hot?

Top Tip:

It’s a good idea to role model talking through your own feelings and reactions with a variety of different words. For example, instead of shouting at the computer screen when it freezes, you could say: "I’m so frustrated this keeps happening. I’m worried I won’t get my work done on time if I can’t fix it."

How this supports knowledge & development:

Sharing stories about feelings or unfamiliar experiences helps your child to:

  • Better manage these situations, as they learn to understand and express their emotions.
  • Help children learn that they are not alone in finding some feelings and situations difficult to cope with.
  • Developing their own sense of self through the feelings and behaviours of others Reading and making up stories together supports:
  • The development of imagination, creative thinking and problem solving as well as having a positive effect on children’s wellbeing and self-confidence.
  • Building your child’s emotional vocabulary and understanding that powerful emotions do not have to be overwhelming or scary.

Download and Keep

If you enjoyed this article and found it to be useful, you can check out more of our early childcare resources in our Family Resource Zone!

And, if you’re not yet a Bright Horizons parent, but are interested in what our nurseries can offer your child on their exciting educational journey, book a personal tour at your local nursery today!