There’s more to child rearing than equipping little ones with essential life skills and practical know-how. From soothing bubba’s wails of frustration to dealing with huge temper meltdowns, a huge part of our job includes teaching the kiddos how to navigate their dizzying array of emotions, to help them figure out what’s causing their overwhelmed feelings, and tricks to regulate these big emotions. Here’s how you can do so.
Set a good example
As our children’s first role models, a powerful way to help our kids learn how to effectively regulate negative emotions is to show them how we deal with our own feelings. Instead of instinctively bottling up our emotions or even displaying your anger, the simple act of admitting: “I’m feeling upset. I need a moment to myself, I’ll be in my room” shows them how to cope and behave the next time things don’t go their way.
Accept their feelings
It’s okay to be upset, it’s normal to be sad, it’s fine to feel anger. Part of teaching your child how to cope with their emotions is learning how to accept and normalise their feelings – even the negative ones.
Teach them coping skills
From doing deep breathing exercises to diving into physical workouts at the gym and listening to music – there are a myriad of ways people cope with big emotions. But everyone is unique, and there isn’t a one size fits all approach to dealing with feelings. Help your child figure out a coping technique that works for them. It may take awhile to find a method that works, but the process of doing so can help your child realise that there are useful solutions to every challenging situation.
Offer plenty of support
Your child may be feeling sad that you aren’t buying the toy they begged for at the store, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reassure them with affectionate hugs and words! Offering proper support will help your child realise that they don’t have to go through negative emotions alone. And as they grow up, this knowledge will enable them to seek out and build a strong and positive support system.