When my oldest was a toddler, we started to learn about different emotions and how we can work through them. Even when it was a full-blown tantrum in the middle of the grocery store. With lots of patience, pens, books and role-playing, we were able to recognize our emotions. We started with the basics, smiley face for when we are happy, an angry face and a sad face.
One sunny morning Nana came over and that always meant lots of fun, adventure and sugar. We packed up and set out for Tim Hortons. As luck would have it, the crowds gathered for their morning coffee. I lifted up my toddler so that he can see the array of goodies and asked him what he wanted. Without hesitation, he looked at the cookies and started to cry. “Mommy, I don’t want a happy face cookie,” and by cry, I mean bawling, “I want a sad face cookie.” He wanted a cookie to match his emotions in that moment.
At least the smiley cookies on the shelf matched everyone else’s feelings who stood witness to the ordeal.
With that, the idea of journaling cookies was born. Whenever we bake cookies that can be decorated, we explore all the different emotions and emulate that with icing. It’s an interactive activity the whole family can enjoy.
Here are a few examples of on how to interact while journaling with cookies:
If your kids are older:
Ask your kids to decorate one cookie with a new emotion they recently encountered.
When does this emotion happen?
How is the best way to handle the situation when we feel that way?
Tell a story about the one smiley cookie who helped the sad cookie feel better.
What did the angry cookie say to the happy cookie?
Make the story your own.
This not only promotes open communication but also allows for healthy relationships between family members in a non-threatening way. Coming up with solutions on how to deal with more complex and difficult emotions as a team. Not to mention you get to eat the cookies after!
Here is my go-to recipe for cut out cookies: