How to Help Your Child Manage Big Emotions

big emotions

The ability to manage strong or big emotions is something with which many children struggle. We are not naturally born with this skill set. Just like adults, children will also experience big emotions from time to time, but they don’t always have the tools to cope with strong feelings. This can lead to frequent emotional outbursts or meltdowns that make it difficult for little ones to behave appropriately at home or school.

As parents, it’s our job to help our children manage overwhelming emotions. Whether they’re feeling happy, sad, angry, or hurt, it’s essential for our kids to know that we’re there for them. Self-regulation is a skill that our kids can develop over time, and it can start at home.

Here are some things you can do to help children learn to manage their emotions:

Give your child your full attention

It’s important to remember that there is no such thing as “wrong” feelings. Children may not be able to articulate what they are feeling, but if they’re experiencing a strong emotion, try asking open-ended questions like, “How does this make you feel?” Ask questions in a way that gives children the opportunity to share their emotions freely without the fear of being judged. Listen closely and give your child your full attention. It’s not always about solving the problem; it’s about being there for your little one.

Teach children how to identify their emotions

Dealing with strong emotions is challenging if we aren’t able to accurately identify the feelings. Teach your child how to manage overwhelming emotions by providing the words to describe each feeling. Teach children how to name feelings when they occur.

For example, when kids feel upset, ask them to identify what they’re feeling, and put it into words. They may say they’re feeling “sad” or “mad.” It’s important for children to be able to identify how they feel before you can help them regulate their strong emotions.

Use calming techniques to help them manage big feelings

When children are experiencing intense anger, fear, or sadness, it can be difficult for them to speak about what they’re feeling inside. They might need some tools or techniques to help them calm down. This doesn’t mean that we should give in when kids have a tantrum. Sometimes, kids just need an outlet to process their emotions. Have your child practice counting to ten or do breathing exercises. You can also invite your child to take a walk outside until these feelings die down.

Stay calm

Don’t react to your child’s anger with added anger or frustration. Doing so will only make your child feel worse. Put yourself in your child’s shoes and imagine how he or she might be feeling at that moment instead of lashing out. It’s crucial for us as adults to manage our own emotions too. Empathize with your little one and be patient. Model how to handle negative feelings so that your child can observe and emulate your actions.

Talk about behaviors that are acceptable

Every child has the right to feel an array of emotions. And while children shouldn’t be penalized for feeling upset, frustrated, or angry, it’s equally important to help them understand which behaviors and words are not acceptable. For example, you can say, “I know you’re mad right now. But we don’t hit people when we get angry.” It’s important to set clear guidelines early on for what is acceptable even if they feel mad or upset.

Offer help

Let your little one know that it’s okay to ask for help. Dealing with strong negative emotions is a skill kids need to learn, but we also need to assure them that we’re there to help when they’re not able to deal with the situation on their own.

Managing overwhelming emotions isn’t a skill young kids will develop overnight. Children may not have the words or ability to express and channel their feelings appropriately at first, but with your help and guidance, they’ll become more skilled at regulating strong emotions whenever they occur.

At Imagine Nation Learning Center, we are committed to helping children reach their full academic, emotional, and social potential. We provide the tools needed to foster holistic growth and development in every child. Learn more about us by visiting our website.

 

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