It can be equally heartbreaking, frustrating and confusing to try and work out what is going on inside your child’s mind. Our instinct is often to encourage our children to talk about why they are upset or angry. But it can be really hard for a child to express feelings in words, especially as they may not even fully understand them.
Here are some activities to help your child recognise and express feelings. The main aim is for your child to learn from you. The focus is not about fixing their worries but helping them learn how to recognise and share their emotions and acknowledging that you have heard them.
By exploring their emotions, children can begin to make sense of them. When you give your child space to express feelings, you’re ‘holding’ their feelings for them, which provides them with a sense of reassurance and can help make their feelings seem less overwhelming. When sharing your own thoughts and experiences, be mindful that they are age-appropriate for your child.
5 Tips To Help Your Child Express Feelings:
1. Identifying Cues
As children mostly fail to select the suitable medium to express their feelings, it leads to an emotional outburst or problematic behaviour, thus making it difficult for the parent to identify the exact feeling. In such a case, the best thing to do is to simply tune in to your child’s emotions by looking at their body language and patiently listening to what they are trying to say and carefully observing their behaviour.
2. Name the Feeling
Behind every single behaviour of a child, there is a hidden feeling. As a parent, we have to understand the feeling and help them out by giving words to express feelings appropriately. The children need to learn to identify their emotions, and it helps to build their vocabulary regarding their feelings.
3. Offer A Nurturing Connection
When children are soothed by their parents, they tend to feel an instant connection that helps to regulate their emotions. Thus, whenever the child is upset or overwhelmed, the best thing we, as a parent, can do is to reconnect with our child. This also helps the parent view things from a child’s perspective and understand the reason behind their meltdown, thereby responding accordingly.
4. Praise Often
Praising a child every time they try to communicate their feelings gives the message that the right thing has been done and you are proud of your child for taking this step. The more positive reinforcements a child gets, the faster the child learns to be more expressive.
5. Be A Role Model And Express Feelings Yourself
Children learn from their external environment. They tend to observe and learn from the elders around them. Likewise, children also learn about feelings and how to express them appropriately by watching others. Show your child how you’re feeling about various situations by express your feelings.
The Importance of Helping Children Express Feelings
Emotions are natural parts of life. Happiness, sadness, anger, confusion, excitement, and many more emotions enter our lives regularly. Everyone feels one or more emotions all the time, and kids are no exception. They are often trying to figure out exactly what they’re experiencing. The feelings they have are often very new to them since they are young and still growing quite a bit.
Understandably, this makes it difficult for them to work through those newfound feelings. They may not always know just how to manage the emotions they’re dealing with. That’s why the adults in their lives have to work on ways to assist them. Helping kids express feelings isn’t always an easy task; it can prove to be pretty tough sometimes! But, it is definitely helpful. Not only will this help your children, but it will also help you.
Helping children express feelings is not just a matter of making sure they have names for their emotions. It’s not just about helping them to feel better. And the goal is not to make sure your little ones always feel happy. Although we certainly hope that our kids will always experience positive emotions, it’s important to understand that sadness and anger are natural emotions and are just as important as our happier ones. It’s also important to understand that managing our feelings, positive and negative alike, is very critical. How your children deal with their emotions will affect various areas of their lives.
Helping a child get to the root of their feelings helps all parties involved: parents, children, and those around them. Fostering a safe environment for children to discover how they experience emotions, helping them create appropriate responses to their emotions, and validating them all the while will help your child feel secure in expressing their feelings. We hope this blog can help you to help your child express feelings more.