If you are new here and do not already know, I am a Grandma! I have a sweet little grandson named Daniel who lives far away and in another country, so right now I can’t see him at all! We talk on Facetime every few days. It kills me to not be able to hold him and hug him, and giggle and play with him! I am worried about having a relationship with him as he gets older so I had an idea. I made him some “feeling sticks”.
They are faces that represent:
When I call I pull out my “feelings sticks” and he and his Mom play the game with me. Right now he is still too little to play the game by himself but he knows it's something special he does ONLY with me. We are making a habit!
I hold up the weird face on a stick and I say “Daniel what did you do today that was weird?” His mom replies but I can already see he is recognizing some of the words she is saying.
What did you eat today that was yummy? Did anything happen today that made you sad?
His mom tells me the answers with him now, but I know that eventually he will answer by himself and I know it's something he looks forward to! I can see his face change as he recognizes the faces on the screen, and he knows he will have my undivided attention for the next little while. I can also tell he knows this is special just for him and I already.
I have a little page of “notes” on my phone that I will sometimes write his Mom's answers down on because I think it might be fun to read them together someday when he is older.
Here are a few examples of calls we have had:
Weird: Daniel could see and hear dad talking on the phone but couldn’t reach him because he was in the basement.
(Here is a photo of him when he finally figured it out and he couldn't get down to the basement because there is a baby gate at the top of the stairs.)
Mad: Bonked his head on the couch.
Sad: When his doggy is in the kennel.
Yummy: Enjoyed eating taco meat.
Happy: Having a dance party In the kitchen with mom and dad, and when he went snowshoeing.
You have to practice talking about your feelings and thinking about them just like anything else. Daniel is also learning that I am interested and care about his feelings at a young age. Maybe later if something sad happens to him he might feel more comfortable telling me about it since we have made that a habit. Also, if something makes him really mad he might not lash out and do something in the moment that he might regret later, but instead know that he can tell me next time he sees me, how angry this situation is making him.
I have included for you a PDF copy of my feelings sticks, they are easy to make. I print them in color on card stock and glue them to big wooden craft sticks.
You could also make them on square cards but I don’t think they have the magic unless they are on a stick. There is something about holding your feelings on a stick that is more fun, and you just want to hold it up like it's your feelings on another guy's head that you can talk about outside of you. It’s like a puppet.
You can also put them on the wall at eye level. Then touch the one you are feeling. This is also very effective. See (blog for next week) with an example of this and how to use Felling sticks in your practicing time.
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