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Mental Health

Building emotional vocabulary using an emotions wheel

By Kanjo
5 min
Last updated
September 23, 2022
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Getting our child to express how they feel is often a tough one. It's hard enough as an adult to find the right words to say! At Kanjo, we found that using an emotions wheel was a simple and effective way to teach your children about emotions, their associations, and build a vocabulary strong enough to eloquently express how they feel.

There are usually a set of core emotions that people experience, often with opposing feelings. Sadness and Joy for example. Anger and Fear. Expectation and Surprise. Acceptance and disgust. Understanding the core emotions are the building blocks.

From there we can build out from the basic emotion until we find the more specific one. These tend to lie on the outer edges of any circle.

The most common way to use an emotions wheel is to start inwards and identify the root feeling. These will also be words children are more likely to recognise.

Now, what do we do once the parents understand the wheel? Teach the kids!

As you introduce the wheel, reinforce that all emotions are helpful, even the scary and overwhelming ones. The emotions wheel is great because it can help us identity how we are feeling at any time!

  1. Talk through each of the emotions and identify what they are, maybe even ask your child to pull the face they think they would have if they felt that way.
  2. Ask them to share examples of times that they have felt those emotions before before getting into how they are feeling today on the wheel.
  3. If you want to get really into the spirit, you can get your child to draw their own emotions wheel with their faces and feelings attached to them!

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