The Feeling Basket

A story about “finding a place” for big feelings.

Read the story together with children. Then, help them make their own feelings basket (or box or bowl) like Karli did and decorate it any way they like. It should look like a special treasure, because the message is that their feelings are important and there’s nothing wrong with them; they just need to find a place for them and learn to cope with them.

Help children start by asking about the source of a particular feeling (“Can you draw what made you so sad?”). You might also encourage them to explore the feeling itself (“What color is your sadness?” “Is it light blue or dark blue?” “What shape is it?” “Is it warm or cold?” “Where do you feel it in your body?”). You might even show them a collection of paint chips and help them pick just the right color to match the feeling.

Together, find a place in their room to put it, such as on a shelf. It’s important that it not be totally hidden, just put off to the side.

You can also make a “feelings book” by stapling a few sheets of paper together and drawing and writing on each page (or, simply give children a notebook and crayons). Children might dictate their ideas or comments on what they’ve drawn, and you can write down their words. They can put the book in the same place they would a basket.

These coping strategies for children help them gain perspective on their emotions and learn to label and talk about them. Remind children often that all of their emotions and feelings are important and okay, they are meant to be shared, and they also frequently change.