Sunday, August 18, 2013

Helping Children Handle Their emotions

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sunshine one moment...storm clouds the next.
one minute my son can be contentedly playing with legos.  the next, he erupts into tears and the legos become missiles launched by tiny fists.
does this describe your child?  if so, read on, my dearhearts, read on... i'm going to preface this by saying that i don't mean to sound preachy.  these are things i try to remind myself of on in those heated moments when Bear's {4.5} emotions overtake him and he needs help dealing with them.

why is my child moody?
volumes could be written about the numerous emotional and physiological reasons why some children seem to cycle through emotions quickly. here's a quick breakdown of a few of them:
  • young children lack the ability to self-regulate their emotions like most adults can.
  • little things to us, are big to them.  a broken lego tower can be a major event because little ones lack something called reversibility... the knowledge that some things can be put back into their original state.
  • disappointment is like a pain to the heart.  children have to build up a tolerance to it.
  • children are born innocent, unassuming, and generally filled with joy, so they don't have innate coping skills to help them with the disappointments and frustrations that life offers.

how can i help my child cope with their emotions?
  • walk through the incident with them.  talk specifically about what happened and how they made it feel.  ask how they could handle it differently next time.  if they aren't able to come up with anything, provide some tools for them to draw from such as: taking a break and walking away, asking for help, trying again.
  • value and put labels to their emotions.  this can be saying something like, "i can see you're upset that your tower fell over and broke."  by diminishing  
  • read books where the characters deal with frustrations or problems.  talk about how the character must be feeling. 
  • identify what situations trigger your child's meltdowns.  by doing this, you can try to step in and walk them through the situation, offering them some options on how to effectively deal with their emotions.

 what are some tips you can give me and other moms on how to help children deal when their emotions overwhelm them?

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