Navigating our feelings is a lifelong journey, but we can show kids how to get started on it right. The shows you watch, books you read, games you play and conversations you have as a family make a big difference in how your little one connects with their emotions and with the world around them.
Emotions change frequently throughout the day. One moment, your child may be filled with pride and joy as they share a painting they’ve been working hard on. But the next can be filled with disappointment, anger and sadness when a cup of spilled water ruins the painting. Navigating our feelings is a lifelong journey. We can support young children in learning important skills like self-awareness, communication and empathizing with others by embedding simple opportunities to identify and express emotions in our daily interactions.
Normalize Sharing Feelings as a Family
Looking back to your own childhood, you may recognize that sharing feelings wasn’t encouraged and it was even frowned upon. If this is the case, it may take some time before you feel comfortable enough to recognize, reflect and share your feelings with your loved ones. The good news is the more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become. Research shows that understanding and identifying our emotions helps us interact in meaningful ways with the social world around us. Throughout the day, practice vocalizing how your emotions influenced your actions and provide opportunities for your child to do the same. If your child is having big feelings like anger or sadness, wait until they regulate before having a conversation about what happened. Examples of ways to share emotions include: When I yelled, it was because I was feeling overwhelmed. I was trying to pay the bills online and you and your brother needed something at the same time. Next time, I will take a deep breath or drink a glass of water instead of yelling.
I’m feeling very sad. Your uncle doesn’t feel well. I think making him a sparkly card would make me feel better — do you want to help?
I noticed you got really quiet after we spoke to grandma on the phone. If you’re feeling sad because you miss grandma, there are things we can do! Would you like to make her a special care package?
Rocking in this chair together helped us calm down. Earlier you threw your toys on the ground when mommy asked you to help sort the laundry. Next time you feel angry, what can you do instead? Support your child in coming up with strategies on what to do when they feel upset, such as putting on a weighted vest, punching a pillow, taking […]