As adults, we’ve had some time to understand our emotions, what they mean and how to express them, but it can still be quite difficult. For children, it’s even harder and almost non existent as they’re still developing and not at the stage where they completely understand their emotions and how to handle them. They need to learn from us!
It’s incredibly important to help your child to identify and deal with their emotions, and provide the space and opportunity to express how they feel and let them it’s ok to do so.
We need to let our children know it’s healthy to talk about emotions and feelings, and modelling this to your child is a great start.
Ways to help your child identify and express their emotions
1. Model calm behaviour
If you’re feeling worked up, take a moment to calm yourself before responding. This will model to your child to do the same when faced with situations that are frustrating.
2. Talk about how feelings can be expressed
Set a good example and let them know feelings can be expressed through communicating and talking about it. Encourage them to express themselves whenever possible and let you know how they’re feeling by using their words.
3. Teach skills to nurture inner strength
This can include teaching and modelling a growth mindset and positive thinking, self belief and self discipline.
4. Name the feeling
Naming each feeling is the first step to helping your child identify them. When they’re having a meltdown, calmly ask what they are currently feeling and say it out loud. Is it sadness? Anger? Embarrassment? This helps them to become more in tune with each emotion.
5. Identify feelings in others
Having empathy, and understanding other people’s emotions is also important. A great way to do this is through cartoons or books. Ask questions like “How do you think they are feeling?” “How would you feel if that happened to you?”