How to speak to your child about their feelings (Activity)

An image of Harriet and Danielle
Specialist Nurse Advisers – Mental Health, Bupa
09 August 2023
Next review due August 2026

Growing up can be difficult. Young people experience lots of physical and mental changes as they grow. The experiences they have during this time of development can also impact their future mental health and emotional skills.

Helping your child express how they feel can help them feel supported and can help you learn about any problems they’re experiencing sooner.

Here, we offer a fun activity you can do with young people to help start healthy conversations about their emotions.

Sisters whispering at dinner

What can affect a child’s mental health?

Mental health problems among children and young people are increasing. Lots of different experiences in a young person’s life can have an impact on their mental health and wellbeing. These can range from:

  • life changes such as moving house or school
  • the arrival of a new sibling
  • being bullied
  • bereavement

Starting a conversation with your child about their feelings can sometimes be difficult, and you might not know where to begin. Activities like the chatter box cards game below can help your loved one feel more comfortable talking about their emotions.

You might also like to try making an art box where your child can draw and paint to express how they’re feeling. Or they could try keeping a mood journal as another way for them to express and record their emotions.

Chatter box cards activity

These chatter box cards are a fun activity for you and your child to play together. They’re designed to encourage healthy conversations about mental wellbeing.

We’ve created these cards for primary school aged children of around five years and older. There are a couple of ways you can play. You could try:

  • Sticking one of the cards up on the fridge each day, and each family member answers the question by the end of the day.
  • Or, take it in turns at the dinner table to pick a card for everyone to answer.

You could also encourage your child to invent their own ways to play and use these cards.

Images from Bupa's chatter cards for conversations with children

Download the cards here (PDF, 0.5MB).

The cards are divided into five themes:

  • managing emotions
  • gratitude
  • friendships
  • resilience
  • just for fun!

Managing emotions

  • Act out an emotion you felt today.
  • What helps you feel calm?
  • Have you felt worried or scared this week? How did you react?
  • If you feel sad, would you rather talk about your feelings or do something to take your mind off it?


  • Look around the room and find something you’re grateful for, explain why.
  • What was the best moment you had today?
  • If you had to name just one thing you’re grateful for, what would it be?


  • Who did you like talking to this week? What made it good?
  • You have a disagreement with a friend. What could you say to make things better?
  • Name one way you helped another person this week.
  • What is one way you can make a new friend?


  • Name something you achieved this week.
  • Think of someone who has acted like a leader recently. What did they do or say?
  • Your friend is having a hard time learning a new skill. What would you say to encourage them?
  • Tell us about the last time you needed to be brave.

Just for fun!

  • If you were an ice-cream flavour, what would you be and why?
  • If you were stranded on a deserted island and could take three things with you, what would they be and why?
  • If you and your family had your own reality TV show, what would you call it and why?
  • If you could be famous for something, what would it be and why?
  • If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
  • If you could create a video game, what would it be about and what would you call it?
  • What cartoon character would you most like to be and why?
  • If you had to give everyone in your family new names, what would they be and why?
  • Do a dance to express how you’re feeling right now.

There’s also some space for your child to create and draw their own cards too.

We now offer GP appointments for children aged between 1 and 18. Find out more about our Under 18 GP Service, call us on 0330 822 3072.

An image of Harriet and Danielle
Harriet Finlayson and Danielle Panton
Specialist Nurse Advisers – Mental Health, Bupa



Lucy Kapoutsos, Health Content Editor at Bupa UK

    • Improving the mental and brain health of children and adolescents. World Health Organization (WHO). Accessed July 2023
    • Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2021: Express yourself. Mental Health Foundation. Published 1 February 2021
    • Children and young people. Mental Health Foundation. Last updated 12 August 2021
    • Promoting mental health and wellbeing. NSPCC Learning. Last updated 24 June 2021

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