Kids also have feelings and emotions like adults. Most times they find it very difficult in expressing or talking about it. The early years are very important for your child’s development. This is the time he or she learns about how the world around them works.
As children or preschoolers develop, they tend to learn more about their feelings and emotion and how to express them. Learning more about their emotions and expressing them can be very overcoming for children. This happens because of the complexities of emotion. This most times causes children to vent their frustration through outburst or not being able to calm down. As a parent or guardian you may find this stage in your child’s life very challenging, but know that it is all part of the child’s learning experience. Like I said earlier, it is a challenge at this stage, so as a parent or guardian it is crucial for you as adults to support and encourage your child’s effort during this stage, so it will be better for them to talk about how they are feeling.
When the need arises, it is always difficult for children to recognize and understand emotions in themselves and others without an adult support. A lot of practice is required in the process of calming down when upset and using words to describe such feelings and also addressing challenges. When adults give support and provide explanations, it helps children to understand how they can manage their feelings. Helping a child, kid, or preschooler in identifying and labeling emotions is an important first step.
There are several ways in supporting and encouraging a child to talk about emotions
1 Ask questions: when you notice a drop in the countenance of a child ask questions, ask questions like how are you feeling, and watch the child throughout the day.
2 Identify the emotion: after asking the child how he or she feels, identify the emotion. Most times we use the word happy, sad, angry, worried, etc but one thing we fail to notice is that there are many other feelings and emotions. So it is your job as an adult to help them identify such feelings.
3 Talk to them about emotions and feelings: tell them the different kinds of feelings and emotions and how different people express them. You can label character emotions and point out the facial expressions and body language of the characters. It could be in a book or a movie or probably in a gathering.
4 Talk about how you are feeling during the day: this would really help you and also bond with your kids. You can tell your kids how you feel there is no big deal about it. For example, you can simply say I’m feeling so sad today cause the heavy rain won’t let us go for the field trip or you can say I’m feeling happy today because we would be going to the cinema. Make sure you direct your kids to look at your facial expressions and body language as you say how you feel. This would help them in identifying emotions and also expressing them without saying a word.
5 Talk about how different people might feel and express emotions in a different situation: This would help the kids understand and have more knowledge about the complexity of emotion and that other people experience them too.
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6 Be a role model: one unique thing about children is that they easily copy things they see other people doing the same goes for emotions and feelings. For example, when they notice uncle Tom always throw and break things when angry, they would want to try the same thing which I know you would not like. Kids can learn a lot about emotions, how different people express and handle it by just watching them. So let your kids see how you are feeling and how you handle your emotions. This would teach them how to handle emotions appropriately.
7 Help the child calm down when the need arises for example when you notice your kid is sad or moody you can do things or get things that would cheer him or her up, if your kid is a lover of ice cream you could get one to help brighten his or her mood. Another example is when you notice your child is upset, you can simply say it looks like this is a good time to calm down and take a deep breath and make sure you take the deep breath together. This could help you guys bond well and much easier for your children to express their feelings and emotion to you easily.
8 Encourage your children to share their feelings and emotion with one and another: this is very good especially if you have more than one child. This would help them see how others who express their own feeling and how they would handle it. It also encourages bonding between the children.
Helping a child develop emotional standing requires repeated and intentional practice. As adults, you support children’s development when you help them identify, label, and talk about emotions.