Here’s how to help your children better manage their feelings

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As Shirley Oldale put her 3-year-old son into bed, he said, “I’m sad because I wanted to play and I don’t want to go to bed.” Oldale, a mother from West Yorkshire, UK, has been teaching her child how to express his emotions since he was 30 months old. “I feel so proud when I hear him express his emotions because I know that I was not encouraged to express emotions associated with challenges or so-called difficult emotions such as anger,” she said. To teach her son about emotions, she reads flip books with pictures of facial expressions that show how children feel and why they might feel that way. emotional literacy, and it is something many parents and caregivers take a proactive role in teaching their children.Emotions determine many aspects of human experience, such as the quality of relationships with friends and family, said Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and professor at the Yale Child Study Center. “We all need a vocabulary to describe our inner experiences and feelings. Without it, we cannot communicate effectively, meet our needs, and get the support we need to thrive,” he said. Emotional literacy can help children better manage negative emotions, according to Dr. Nerissa Bauer, a behavioral pediatrician in Indianapolis. “When children act out or have behavioral outbursts, it’s a sign that they are hurting, they need our help but don’t yet have the tools or strategies to effectively get the help they need,” Bauer said. pandemicChildren’s emotional development and wellbeing need special attention during the pandemic, said Tamsin Grimmer, early years consultant and associate at Early Education, a UK charity that focuses on improving early childhood education. early childhood. Children may feel uncertain or unsafe, or they may pick on those emotions from their family members, she said. When young people learn to harness emotional literacy, they become more resilient and can better cope with difficult times in life, Grimmer added. During the pandemic, educators like Lisa Agyapong have worked with children to help them understand how to calm down. She is Head of Early Years at Early Years Alliance, an educational charity in the UK. A glitter jar to represent emotions One of the activities she taught the children was to make a glitter jar. When the children shook the jar, the movement of the glitter represented their uncontrollable emotions, she said. As the glitter subsided, the children’s emotions also calmed down, she explained. According to Brackett, author of “Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive.” “Children with more developed emotional skills tend to have greater well-being, high-quality relationships, and better academic performance,” he said. Anxiety and depression also increased among younger populations, so it’s more important than ever to teach them how to process their emotions in a healthy way, Brackett added. Nectar the dots after the fact. And it’s not just when they’re angry or sad.” If your child is laughing and smiling, you can say, “Look at that smile! You’re so happy!” Bauer said. Children are also keen observers, so parents and caregivers should also practice and demonstrate their emotional literacy, Brackett said. They can say what emotion they’re feeling and why, like “Mom feels sad because..” he explained. Throughout the day, engage in conversations with your kids about emotions, Bauer said. It reinforces the belief that it’s okay to talk about feelings and encourages them to share. If you’re watching TV or reading a book, discuss the different emotions the characters feel, she added. Once children can identify their emotions, they can begin to learn how to process them in healthy ways, Brackett said. and caregivers can also share stories about how they handled specific situations when they had negative emotions, so children have examples of what to do, she said.

As Shirley Oldale put her 3-year-old son into bed, he said, “I’m sad because I wanted to play and I don’t want to go to bed.”

Oldale, a mother from West Yorkshire, UK, has been teaching her child to express her emotions since the age of 30 months.

“I feel so proud when I hear him express his emotions because I know that I was not encouraged to express emotions associated with challenge or so-called difficult emotions like anger,” she said. .

To teach her son about emotions, she reads flip books with pictures of facial expressions that show how children feel and why they might feel that way.

This skill that Oldale teaches her son is called emotional literacy, and it’s something that many parents and caregivers take a proactive role in teaching their children.

Emotions determine many aspects of the human experience, such as the quality of relationships with friends and family, said Marc Brackett, director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and professor at the Yale Child Study Center.

“We all need a vocabulary to describe our inner experiences and feelings. Without it, we can’t communicate effectively, meet our needs, and get the support we need to thrive,” he said. .

According to Dr. Nerissa Bauer, a behavioral pediatrician in Indianapolis, emotional literacy can help children better deal with negative emotions.

“When children act out or have behavioral outbursts, it’s a sign that they are hurting, they need our help but don’t yet have the tools or strategies to effectively get the help they need” , Bauer said.

Emotional development during a pandemic

Children’s emotional development and well-being require special attention during the pandemic, said Tamsin Grimmer, early childhood consultant and partner at early educationa UK charity that focuses on improving early childhood education.

Children may feel uncertain or in danger, or they may feel these emotions from their family members, she said.

When young people learn to harness emotional literacy, they become more resilient and can better cope with difficult times in life, Grimmer added.

During the pandemic, educators like Lisa Agyapong have worked with children to help them understand how to calm down. She is an early childhood manager with early childhood alliancean educational charity in the UK.

A glitter jar to represent emotions

One of the activities she taught the children was to make a pot of glitter. When the children shook the jar, the movement of the glitter represented their uncontrollable emotions, she said. As the glitter subsided, the children’s emotions also diminished, she explained.

“Being together for the time it takes for the glitter to settle down gives the child a chance to calm down, without even realizing they’re doing it,” Agyapong said.

Teaching emotional literacy to children has grown in popularity over the past decade because studies have shown the benefitsaccording to Brackett, author of “Permission to Feel: Unleashing the Power of Emotions to Help Our Children, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive.”

“Children with more developed emotional skills tend to have greater well-being, high-quality relationships, and better academic performance,” he said.

Anxiety and depression also have doped in younger populationsso it’s more important than ever to teach them how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way, Brackett added.

An emotional literacy lesson plan

Parents and caregivers should start by helping children identify emotions in the moment, Bauer said, because it can be difficult for children to connect the dots afterwards.

And it’s not just when they’re angry or sad. “If your child is laughing and smiling, you can say, ‘Look at that smile! You guys are so happy!” Bauer said.

Children are also keen observers, so parents and caregivers should also practice and demonstrate their emotional literacy, Brackett said. They can say what emotion they’re feeling and why, like “Mom is sad because…” he explained.

Throughout the day, engage in conversations with your kids about emotions, Bauer said. It reinforces the belief that it’s okay to talk about feelings and encourages them to share.

If you’re watching TV or reading a book, discuss the different emotions the characters feel, she added.

Once children can identify their emotions, they can begin to learn how to process them in healthy ways, Brackett said.

Bauer recommended that parents teach their children self-soothing methods like deep breathing, meditation, or playing outside.

Parents and caregivers can also share stories of how they handled specific situations when they had negative emotions, so children have examples of what to do, she said. .

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