Last week we talked about some tips that are helpful for adults to learn how to better manage sudden emotions that come up, in response to our ever-changing world. You can read part 1 here. This week we are following up with similar tips, but focusing on how we can better support the kids in our lives. This post is geared towards kids 6 and younger.
For kids and toddlers, they often experience the same fluctuation in emotions as any adult would, but they might not “stay in” their emotions as long – kids tend to be able to dip in and out of emotions easily.
As you and your littles are continuing to navigate this changing world, with schools and daycares opening, closing, threatening to close, or falling somewhere in between, these tips will help your child increase their emotional awareness and complement their development as they learn it is okay to feel what they are feeling.
Here are some tips that will empower kids to become tuned-in with their own experience, and ultimately more resilient in the face of future changes or trials:
1. Sometimes you have to name the emotion for your child. If you recognize they are angry, make an observation – you can say something like: “you sound angry right now.” This teaches children to name what they are experiencing and helps them further develop their emotional awareness. Using emojis or an emotion chart can also be helpful because it provides visual support to accompany the verbal acknowledgement of the feeling.
2. Keeping calm while helping your child understand what is going on. Kids are going to feed off of what is around them. If they observe or sense that you are frustrated or irritable while you’re talking to them, they are much less likely to respond calmly themselves. It is important to keep your explanation short and simple, using words they understand. You can say something like: “Hey, I noticed your toy truck is broken. I would feel sad too. Let’s see if we can fix it.”
3. Help your child to re-tell the story of their experience. Sometimes kids just haven’t developed the cognition or language to express what happened. Saying something as simple as: “You must have felt scared when you heard the fire alarm go off. It is a loud sound. I would feel scared if I didn’t know what the sound was either.”
4. Find the right kind of support for your child as they need it. It could be counseling, one-on-one time with a grown-up they love, a change of scenery with a playmate, or even getting to try something new on their own. Every child is unique and every grown up has an incredible opportunity to support their littles in becoming the best version of who they were created to be.
Start Therapy for Your Child in Montgomery County, PA
Whether you have behavioral or emotional concerns for your child or need more support during tough parenting seasons, the counselors at Lime Tree Counseling are here for you. Not only are there counselors on staff who are licensed in Marriage and Family Therapy, but we also have therapists who are gifted in working with children. Don’t hesitate to contact us today!