Teaching Children About Emotions

February 24, 2012 at 09:59 | Posted in ALEX Blogger Bulletin, ALEX Toys | Leave a comment
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Children are emotional beings. Often they are too young and immature to understand the feelings they are having. They may lash out or have a meltdown simply because they aren’t able to identify and express their emotions. As parents, it’s our job to teach our children about their emotions, how to handle them, and how to be sensitive to the emotions of others. There are several ways you can instill these important skills in your children.

  1. Start simple. Teaching your child the different facial expressions associated with different emotional states is a great place to start. This helps them identify the emotions of others as well as themselves. Have them make the faces in a mirror, or draw them on paper. Being able to identify different emotional states is almost as important as being able to control them.
  2. Patience is key.If your child is in the middle of a meltdown, that is probably not the time to start the lecture about controlling their emotions. Picking just the right time to bring up the subject can make all the difference. I recommend waiting until the high emotions have died down. Your child will be much more willing to listen.

    ALEX Moody Monster Manor App

  3. Find and use helpful resources. Using games and storybooks can have a huge impact when teaching your child about emotions. Next time you are reading your child a story, ask a question about the characters in the book. How are they feeling? Do you think that made him happy or sad? They don’t even realize they are learning, and these discussions can give you real insight into their thought processes about emotions. There are several games and toys out there that approach the subject with fun and entertaining ways making it less scary or stressful. ALEX has toys and games that are perfect for this very topic. Their free app, Moody Monster Manor  features games that are fun, engaging and interactive.
  4. Be realistic. Remember they are children. Don’t expect your child to catch on quickly. We as parents don’t even understand what we’re feeling half the time, and children struggle even more due to their immature communication skills. Certain skills may take time for them to learn, and it’s also an ongoing lesson that will last for years.
  5. Listen. Sometimes the best way to get a handle on how your child is handling and understanding emotions is to just listen. It can be a discussion as mundane as what they did at school that day, but you can learn a lot from listening to how they communicate the events of the day to you, or how they react to the other people that are part of their day. During these conversations, it’s important to remain calm and don’t judge. If you react badly or are quick to scold, they will hesitate to communicate their feelings with you in the future. Keep the lines of communication open by being a good listener and keeping the tone of the conversation light.
  6. Think before you respond. When the time comes for a response, take it easy. Address the negative feelings as needed, but in a calm manner. If your child is complaining about being upset, say back to them what you heard. For instance, “I understand you are upset because…” This helps them know you heard them, and that you understood them. Sometimes when they hear their complaints said back to them, they realize things aren’t as horrible as they thought.
  7. Lead by example. If your child sees you lashing out when emotions are high, they are more likely to handle their own emotions the same way. We all know that children pay more attention to what we do than what we say. It’s important for them to see that we’re not perfect. Not only does this let them know that it’s okay to have a bad day once in awhile, but it also teaches them valuable lessons about making amends. I am no perfect mom. I make mistakes daily, but when I make a mistake with my child, I always make a point to say I’m sorry. If I lose my temper and yell, I say I’m sorry. This teaches them to take responsibility for their emotions, and lets them know I value them enough to give them an apology.

These tips are really just the beginning, but they are important keys to teaching children of all ages about emotions. Raising a child that is secure and stable is difficult in the world we live in today. Teaching them to identify, express, and control their emotions makes all the difference.

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