Children need help to manage strong feelings. Over time, with a parent’s help, children learn how to manage strong feelings independently.
Here is a list of 5 ways you can help your kids manage their strong feelings.
- Pay attention to your child’s story with your whole body, listening for strong emotions
- Stop what you are doing.
- Get down to your child’s level
- Look at your child
- Speak using a calm voice
- Put your child’s feelings into words, for example:
- “It looks like you’re pretty angry/sad/scared/excited about that
- “You sound pretty upset”
- Help them to notice what’s happening in their body, for example:
- “How does that feel in your tummy/head?”
- “Your arms look stiff and tight”
- Empathize with them
- “It’s tough when..”
- “I can understand that you might feel [annoyed] when…”
- “If my friend did that, I’d feel [angry] too”
- Help them to solve their own problem
- “What could you do about that?”
- “What do you think you could do the next time that happens?”
Helping our kids manage their strong emotions provides them the opportunity to feel heard and validated. This promotes high self esteem and emotional resilience. But in order to help our kids manage their strong feelings, we need to be able to manage our own.