A child learns self-regulation through face-to-face serve and return, and co-regulating social interactions with adults and peers in their lives (Clinton,179). We sometimes forget that children experience a lot of emotional ups and downs just like us. We try to hurry them through feeling, try to distract them or use phrases such as, “do not cry you are ok.” We all experience anger, sadness, fear, joy, interest, surprise, disgust, and shame. Being aware of our own emotions and understanding how we express them can help our children to do the same as they learn by watching.
Here are some suggestions on ways we may be able to help our children develop emotional skills
Observe your children’s body language and tune into their cues
Name your children’s feelings, yours, and others that you observe
Model how you express feelings, do not be afraid to share when you are experiencing anger, sadness, fear, joy, interest, surprise, disgust, and sham
Ideas of language to help our children work through their emotions
It looks like you…
Are you telling me…?
Are you feeling…?
It seems like…
I am guessing you might feel…. (Davis, 127.)
“Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can be cultivated between two people only when it exists within each one of them, we can love others only as much as we love ourselves” (Brown,184). The best way to show love is to allow for feeling to be felt and expressed completely. This may mean you have to calm yourself down and wait until you are ready to be there to support. Remember to be patient. It might mean waiting while yells, screams and tears are let out. If we see feelings for what they are, reactions to situations and events, we can genuinely work through our emotions and help support our children to express theirs.
To Explore More about Supporting your Child’s Emotional ups and downs, refer to the links below:
Brown, Brene. (2022). Atlas of the Heart. Random House.
Clinton, Jean. (2020). Love Builds Brains. Tall Pine Press.
Siegel, D. J., & Bryson, T. P. (2021). No-drama discipline: The whole-brain way to calm the chaos and nurture your child’s developing Mind. Bantam Publishing.
Clarke-Fields, H. (2020). Raising good humans: A mindful guide to breaking the cycle of reactive parenting and raising kind, confident kids. New Harbinger Publications. From https://www.happinessseries.com/less-reactive-parenting/.
Davies, S., & Imai, H. (2019). The Montessori Toddler: A parent’s guide to raising a curious and responsible human being. Workman Publishing.