As parents, you are going to face challenging situations that you need to talk through with your children. Whether it be something that happened at school, or something more life altering like a death in the family, your kids will have moments of extreme feelings. Teaching them the correct way to acknowledge these feelings and emotions will lead to both happier and healthier children and families.
Here are 3 tips to working with your kids on expressing feelings:
- Ask them directly: Don’t give them wiggle room. Ask how they are feeling, both mentally and physically. Simple questions such as “does it feel like you have butterflies in your tummy?” or “Do you want to scream or cry?” helps you identify the exact feelings of their kids – even if the kids don’t know it themselves.
- Show empathy: Don’t just lecture but share. Share a moment in your life where you felt the same way as your child. Be it an experience that happened years ago when you were a child, or even a situation from just the other day, help them understand how you dealt with it.
- Be creative and teach good habits: This is a fabulous opportunity to teach kids how they can impact their own emotions. Draw a picture together of a happy place, work on breathing techniques or take them outside to walk, run or play. SHOW them a better way to handle their reactions without glossing over the emotions.
These tips work best when communication is open and honest. Start talking about feelings and sharing every day situations with them at an early age. Books are also a fabulous way to introduce children to these concepts. In one of Silver Dolphin Books’ newest series, Totally Monsters, adorable (non-scary) monsters introduce young readers to basic concepts in a fun, easy to understand way. Totally Monster: Feelings is a great resource for young kids as the monsters explain a variety of feeling while explaining basic language around feelings such as “feeling blue” and “seeing red.”
Totally Monster: Feelings and Totally Monster: Best Friends are illustrated by award-winning artist Sue DiCicco and are available now.