What? Only five? Perhaps you’re remembering times you had thousands of feelings about a big event. Our emotional experiences are certainly multifaceted and complex, but I did hear a cute story about keeping it simple that I’d like to pass on.
From what I remember there were two men being deployed for military service. Sitting next to each other on an airplane traveling far away from home, one turns to the other and asks “scared?” His friend responds “apprehensive.” The first one asks “what’s the difference?” His friend pauses and replies “scared with a college degree.”
Keep it simple. There is no need to introduce young children to dozens of feeling names. If a child can learn five basics (like basic colors and shapes), they will take it from there as they develop and grow. I think of sight words when children are first learning some basic words. Those lists are short and manageable. A grownup sees that short list as a doable teaching task, and the child does too. So like sight words, keeping simple will make it easier for you to remember what to say during a tough moment, too. Keeping it simple certainly makes feelings more manageable for your child.
If you like this idea of keeping things simple, you might like these stickers to paste around the house as a type of ‘sight word’ reminder:
The SCIENCE: Ulf Dumberg from Sweden studied five basic emotions and determined that anger, sadness, fear, happiness and disgust result in the same physiological response and facial expression, so basic emotions really are a universal language!