Children are mostly honest about how they are feeling. If they are angry they throw a tantrum, if they are happy they laugh, and if they are sad then they cry. The actual expression of emotion isn’t hard for children.
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But it is hard for them to explain why they are feeling these emotions, and as a parent, it can be hard to pinpoint where your child’s emotions are coming from and how to successfully deal with them.
When it comes to handling their children’s emotions, parents can often react adversely and as such cause lasting damage on their kid’s long-term emotional well-being.
Brushing emotions aside, laughing when they cry, or getting angry when they throw a tantrum are just some of the ways that parents naturally react to their child, but there are much better ways to identify, handle, and teach children how to deal with their emotions.
Here is what we suggest you do with your child to create an understanding around emotions that they encounter:
Control your own feelings
How you react to your child’s behavior is one of the first things that you need to manage in order to help your children handle their emotions. It’s easy to get angry when your child is throwing a tantrum because they weren’t allowed to put their finger in the plug socket.
However, before shouting at them, gather your temper and calmly try to explain to them why they can’t and that you care about their safety. Remember that your children are going to pick up on your emotional cues, and that means you should always react how you would expect them to in the same situation.
Identify the emotions
One of the hardest things for children to do is verbalize what they are feeling and why. Try activities that help your child learn about what they are feeling and why they are feeling that way. Help them to identify the main emotions, and they will be able to tell you more clearly why they are feeling that way.
For example, if your child is sad when they return from school, then sit down and help them to find a persona for the sadness, whether it’s a drawing, a cartoon character, or something like a color. Once they know how to identify their feeling – they can then tell you what made them sad.
Help them to develop appropriate responses
Children haven’t yet developed the social skills to understand what an appropriate reaction is too many of their more intense feelings. Explain to them that even if someone hurts their feelings that they can’t lash out or throw things but must rather squeeze a pillow or something non-destructive.
At the same time, however, it’s important to let your children know that it’s normal to have emotions, and if they need to cry, then they should be allowed to cry. Emotional intelligence is all about finding the right balance.
At Miniland, we have developed an entire collection of games and activities that assist families in identifying and reacting to emotions through play. By encouraging children to learn more about their emotions, you are helping them to develop into more well-rounded, caring people.