Today I feel...
Upon entering Noogieland at Gilda's Club Middle Tennessee, children are greeted with an emoji wall and a line stating, "Today I feel..." The wall is a magnet for children's hands pointing at their chosen emoji as they shout out exactly how they are feeling. (Most times after an "excited!!" exclamation, the next action is an energetic body dive onto one of our foam bags!) What is not posted on the wall is the subsequent conversation surrounding the feelings- the root cause, how they process the emotion, etc.. (We think that could elicit the "overwhelmed" emoji almost instantly!)
Noogieland has always been and always will be a safe space to express ALL emotions, whether happy, sad, excited or mad. Therefore, children feel comfortable telling us how they feel because they know their words and feelings will be validated, respected and shared. One conversation with a child who expressed feeling "sad" sparked a Noogieland-wide discussion regarding what children do when they feel sad and mad to help themselves manage their emotions. We documented their thoughts and ideas on paper, as they were insightful, constructive and worth sharing.
The picture below showcases the various responses. Here are several new and noteworthy:
-Poking holes in paper (resting) on carpet (We're told the feeling of it going through to the carpet is soothing.)
-Making fart noises with slime
-Avoiding people and listening to music
-Hit something (Notice that the suggestion is NOT to hit “someone”)
-Write in my journal
-Look at the night sky
As is evidenced by this survey, kids have an extraordinary ability to access and gain control over their emotions. Our job as adults is to scaffold them through their experiences while giving them the space and trust they need to believe in their own abilities to handle their feelings. In other words, we second their emotions 🙂