Five tips on how to support your child with their ‘big emotions’
Emotions are complex for all human beings, but when it comes to early years children – who may not have the words or knowledge to express or deal with them effectively – it’s important that parents are there to support them in recognising and handling them.
Our product marketing manager, Beth-Ann Sher, recently teamed up with childminder Chloe Webster, to offer some top tips to Lemon-Aid’s parenting newsletter. If you missed the original write-up, catch up below…
- Don’t try and ‘protect’ children from big or negative emotions
Children must be given the chance to feel and process their emotions first-hand. If we were to do everything in our power to prevent them from feeling these ‘big emotions’, they would never be able to understand and manage them effectively.
- Provide ample time and space to feel, explore, and express emotions
This is the first key step in helping children to develop the tools and knowledge of processing and understanding a range of emotions. If you see anger, frustration, or sadness, for instance, this presents a good opportunity to reassure them that everyone has feelings like this sometimes and there’s nothing to be worried about.
- Use language carefully when discussing emotions with children
The way we describe emotions can have a direct impact on a child’s experience and understanding them. We must never make a youngster feel ‘bad’ for feeling a certain way, and the language we use plays a vital part in this. For example, instead of saying ‘don’t be scared’ when they’re displaying fear or apprehension, we could reframe this into a question like, ‘what are you scared of?’ This allows them to own and express their feelings, and also identify the trigger.
- Make use of questions and place ownership on the child and their emotion
As a result, this allows them to process the emotion and develop their own understanding of where this feeling has come from. Parents can then support children in overcoming it – whether that be with a cuddle, a comforter, or just the space and time to feel and process the emotion.
- Remain calm at all times
It’s vital that parents take time out to think about their actions when their children are experiencing ‘big emotions’. Trying to display the behaviour you’d like to see in your child is crucial – whether that be taking a break, counting to ten, or breathing deeply – it’s important to show how it should be done, in order to help them learn key coping mechanisms.