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Big Emotions with Little Kids

Parenthood is an emotional rollercoaster I was not prepared for. Their big emotions and mine, too. The feelings that come like a tidal wave and hit us when we’re least expecting it, then hoping we’re both, or in my case- all, equipped to process and express them appropriately.

When I look back at my time with just Little Thomas to compare how I did things then to how I’ll do things now with the three (yes - 3! I’ve added another kid since I last blogged) younger ones, navigating emotions is one of the most important topics I come back to. I had so much one-on-one time with Little Thomas. It was just the three of us for so long. Now, we've added three under five and I realize I have to be more intentional with what matters. Emotional intelligence is one of those areas.

A smiling Black family with four children,  mother and father | Inspirus Kids founder, Alicia Kennedy with her husband, professional basketball player Thomas Kennedy

Helping them name their emotions, understand each feeling, and showing them how to express each in the moment has been extremely impactful in giving them the independence to embrace their biggest emotions. But, it starts with me. When I’m in those moments, I have to be able to show them how to take a deep breath, step away, name my emotions, apologize for not handling it well. And that goes for the good emotions, too!

There’s been a lot of excitement buzzing in our household lately. Tyler and Taylor started preschool, Thomas started middle school and it’s his first time in school in the States, Taj made his debut this summer, and big things are in the works with Inspirus. I try to keep the kids in the loop when I get new sketches from illustrators on projects, new books arrive at port after being printed, and even this really big print run we just sent off, which brings another big emotion into the picture- nervous!

My hope is that my kids can look at me and see that it’s okay to feel more than one big emotion at once - excitement, nervousness, fear, overwhelm, joy. Emotions aren’t linear or exclusive. They’re multidimensional and help to shape the person we are as we experience the world around us. As I’m feeling all these emotions with my business, I know they have to be feeling them with starting school and building a new routine at home instead of in Japan.

Four beautiful children | a big brother holding his newborn baby brother | four Black children | professional family photos

The world around us has changed, too. The pandemic brought on a new layer of tension and stress none of us have ever experienced and we’re all trying to heal from. It’s okay to let our kids see us struggle in this and give ourselves grace, so maybe one day when they need it, they will give themselves grace, too.

At the heart of it all, we need to be able to understand and articulate our emotions well, so they can, too. It’s okay that we have big emotions and it’s okay that we feel them.

*Alexa, play Emotion by Destiny’s Child*

I had our teacher team put together some emotion freebies to help our littles (and maybe us?) identify our emotions through matching and play dough!

digital downloads | free downloads | diverse educational resources | free emotions worksheets


If you want to really pull at your emotions, get your copy of I’ll Be Here!

I'll Be Here follows the big moments of raising your child and the little moments in between with an incredible, heartfelt poem to express it.

I'll Be Here | the perfect picture book for diverse families | diverse children's book | inclusive children's book


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