Healthy Outlets for Big Feelings

Last year, one of the most popular and most responded-to articles at Simple Kids was the one on 6 Peaceful Solutions for Hitting and Anger.  I think all parents and care givers realize that one of the biggest responsibilities we have as parents is teaching our children how to respond to their feelings in a healthy way.

A few weeks ago, my friend Nora, whose daughter is the same age as my oldest, posted this picture on Facebook:

Nora shared that Ainsley was not happy about an answer Nora had given her, and she retreated to her room for a while and came out with this drawing.  Isn’t this an incredible response for a newly five year old to be able to have when feeling very, very angry with her mother?

(Nora told me that Ainsley had learned a lot about emotions and all sorts of character development through the Al’s Pals program at her school.)

I’ve shared before that I think journaling is an excellent way to help children learn to express their big feelings.

Journaling works quite well with older children and for children who are comfortable with written expression.  But what about little ones?  What about children who don’t feel comfortable with writing or drawing their feelings?

Today, I would love to hear from the Simple Kids community.  You all have shown yourselves time and again to be a wealth of wisdom and guidance.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

What have you found to be helpful, healthy outlets for the big feelings your children experience?

How To Make a Simple Child’s Tutu

In preparation for her daughter’s second birthday, Christie Burnett of Childhood 101 is making a dress up box full of homemade fun and today she shares a tutorial for making a simple child’s tutu with Simple Kids readers.

Before I begin, I should clarify that I am an amateur sewer, largely self taught and unusually impatient, so my sewing projects must be simple to make and quick to complete.  This cute tutu is certainly simple and quick, plus the finished piece looks very cute.

What you’ll need

Please note, the exact quantities of each of the following will depend upon the size of the child you are making the skirt for.

* 1 metre (40″) poly tulle or tulle in main colour (I prefer the poly tulle as it is softer than traditional tulle)
* 1/2 metre (20″) sparkly poly tulle that complements main colour
* 1 1/2 metres (60″) 5 cm wide (2″) ribbon

Let’s get started

1. I used an existing skirt of my daughters as a guide for the sizing of the tutu.  You will need both a length and waist measurement.

2. Cut four lengths of the main colour poly tulle.  I neatly folded the fabric to make cutting across the entire width of the tulle easier.  There is no need to be painfully exact as the completed skirt is quite full and forgiving.

3. Cut one length of the sparkly poly tulle.

4. Gathering: Set your sewing machine to the longest stitch length and with a seam allowance of 1cm, sew along the top edge of each piece of poly tulle, including the sparkly fabric.  Do not backstitch.  Cut the thread.

Taking hold of one thread (see the picture below where I am holding the top thread only), gently pull the thread to gather the fabric.  Continue pulling, adjusting and evening out the gathers as you go, GENTLY!

Gather until the finished length is that of the waist measurement determined in step 1.  Tie the loose threads at each end and trim excess thread.

Repeat for each piece of tulle.

5.  To hold gathering in place, set your sewing machine back to a medium stitch length and sew over the top of the gathering stitch.  Repeat for each piece of tulle.

6. Pin the five pieces of tulle together with the poly tulle on the outside.  It is easiest to find the centre point of each piece and begin pinning from the centre out to each edge.

7.  Sew all five layers together by alongside the gathering stitch of the top piece of tulle.  As poly tulle is quite fine my basic sewing machine managed to stitch through the layers without difficulty.

8.  Fold your ribbon in half and iron on a low heat.

9.  Fold ribbon over the waistline of the tutu, it should cover your gathering stitches easily.  Again, I began with the centre of the ribbon and the centre of the skirt piece and pinned from the centre out.  Stitch along the bottom edge of the ribbon.  I stitched a second row alongside the first for reinforcement.

10.  Now your tutu is complete.  It is easily tied around your child’s waist with the excess ribbon.  Time to dance and enjoy!

You can see more of Christie’s fun ideas for homemade fun at Childhood 101.

What projects have you recently undertaken? Were you happy with the results?