Feelings can be a bit complicated for all age groups, but especially when it comes to small children. At such a young age, reasoning and empathy is not a child’s strong suit. Teaching your child how to comprehend feelings can be a difficult task because they aren’t familiar with social cues yet. Teaching your child about their feelings should be done as soon as possible to improve their future conflict resolution.
A toddler will throw a fit when you tell them no, which is how they express feelings of anger and frustration. In moments like these, you’ll want to acknowledge your child’s feelings, letting them know that you understand they're mad at you. Communicating about this emotion will help them know that it’s okay to talk about how they’re feeling. When your child is feeling excited, ask them if they’re happy so they relate positive thoughts towards that word. Once children get older, you can start labeling emotions with more complex words such as, “nervous” or “frustrated”, but focus on the basic emotions while they're still learning the concept of feelings.
It’s crucial to make your child understand how to cope with emotions. Feeling angry or upset doesn’t make hitting or pushing acceptable, so teaching them coping strategies will help them manage their emotions. Let your child know that it's okay to feel these uncomfortable emotions, and encourage them to take a deep breath. Breathing exercises are a great way to take the attention away from their anger, allowing them to take a moment to regain their composure. Allowing them some alone time can help too, giving them personal space to think about how they’re feeling before acting out. Talking to your child like a real person with real feelings will make them feel heard. They need to understand that these emotions are safe to talk about with you, and that you can show them how to overcome them.
Teaching a child how to deal with emotions can be tedious, but will become easier as they grow older. Talking with your child will condition them to know they can trust you to make them feel better. Eventually, they will take these strategies and will utilize them on their own. They will be able to deal with conflicting emotions smoothly, and will be able to cope with them. Looking for childcare in The Woodlands, Texas? Interested in learning more? Visit our programs page or contact us today!