TOM is one of my favorite higher-leveled preschool skills to work on because you’re synthesizing multiple language targets. This is when you get to the fun stuff. You’ve taught your preschooler to identify emotions, use conjunctions in structured sentences, and demonstrate appropriate non-verbal social cues and now…. what do you do? Start by explaining emotions, behaviors, and beliefs that you read in books and see in movie clips.
Little CritterMy favorite books for TOM are Little Critter. Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter books are the answer to nearly every preschool language target. While reading together, talk about what you think the characters might do next, how the characters are feeling and why they are feeling that way. An example of this is: “Little Critter is feeling mad. I wonder why he’s mad. Oh, he’s mad because he lost his baseball mitt.”
Pixar ShortsPixar short films are awesome for teaching TOM because there are tons of basic emotions, interactions between individuals, and they'll keep your kiddo's attention. While you're watching the films, periodically pause them and talk about what's happening. Ask your child questions about what they're seeing and why they think certain things are happening. I like to teach how to make inferences while simultaneously developing Theory of Mind. You have to have a foundational Theory of Mind to accurately make inferences about others' behaviors and emotions.
What books and activities do you like to use to develop your child's Theory of Mind?