For example the other day when my parents and brother came over to take her out for dinner, Violet started signing and saying 'feelings' as she was bursting with energy and excitement over seeing them. I asked "How do you feel? Are you excited?" She could barely contain herself while she waved her hands up and down enthusiastically saying 'x- ited!!'. It was really cute.
A few weeks ago, it seemed as though Violet's favourite thing to say was "What's wrong??" in a very concerned little voice. More often than not, while reaching her hands out as if to cup my face. It was a little alarming... as in, why is she seemingly anxious? It was also really funny and cute. I'd almost always respond with "Nothing's wrong. Everything is great. How are you?" I figure that she picked it up from us. In any case, it seems to have passed. But I find that when she gets upset and I ask her "What's wrong??" in the same soft and concerned voice she uses and cup her face she seems to find comfort in it and calms right down.
I mentioned there were some tools. The first that I would identify as helping Violet identify moods and emotions is the book "Grumpy Bird".
Not only is this a cute book with cute themes, it teaches children to identify when they are grumpy. I think when you can point out to a child that they are being grumpy, you are communicating that you are paying attention to how they feel and it opens up the opportunity to discuss what the problem is or to re-direct the child to cheer up!
The second tool which continues to be a HUGE hit is the Signing Time video called "Family, Feelings & Fun" (Volume 4). What's great about both the DVD and CD is that A) they are fun for kids (Violet LOVES it), B) the music is really good and more than just tolerable for parents and C) it teaches kids and parents how to sign: happy, excited, scared, surprised and grumpy.
My favourite of course is seeing her sign and say "excited"!!
The third thing I've been doing lately is teaching her some pretty sophisticated words. Words that make her stop and listen because they are so complicated. The first word is "frustrated". When she gets upset or angry I try to teach her this word so that she can better express her emotions. Part of getting her frustration out is expressing it I find. The second word we've been using is "cooperation". This is the word I often pull out when trying to get her to agree to come out of the bath tub. If I can ask her to say that word it usually distracts her enough to actually practice the meaning of the word by standing and letting me lift her out.
Just some techniques I've been finding useful and that will serve her well in life. They may not always work but it's really nice to see her express herself plus seeing her sign 'scared' is priceless!