June 2, 2022
Today’s blog post was created using materials from Talking is Teaching, a campaign of Too Small to Fail.
Small children have big feelings! When children are able to identify and discuss their feelings, it can help them learn how to respond to their emotions and build their social-emotional skills.
Below is a list of 5 ways to help your child work through feelings using language, literacy, and interaction. Additional resources are also linked at the bottom of the list.
- Cuddling helps to calm your mind and body when you are feeling stressed. Pick out a book and snuggle up with your child to read together.
- Encourage your child to talk about their feelings, but try not to ask leading questions like, “Are you worried about the science fair?” To avoid feeding the cycle of anxiety, just ask open-ended questions: “How are you feeling about the science fair?”
- Get silly! A funny song or goofy game can help worries melt away.
- When we’re afraid of something, the hardest time is really before we do it. So another rule of thumb for parents is to really try to eliminate or reduce the anticipatory period. If a child is nervous about going to a doctor’s appointment, you don’t want to launch into a discussion about it two hours before you go; that’s likely to get your child more keyed up.
- Sometimes it helps to talk through what would happen if a child’s fear came true — how would they handle it? A child who’s anxious about separating from their parents might worry about what would happen if a parent didn’t come to pick them up. So we talk about that. If your mom doesn’t come at the end of soccer practice, what would you do? “I would tell the coach my mom’s not here.” And what do you think the coach would do? “Well, he would call my mom. Or he would wait with me.” For some kids, having a plan can reduce the uncertainty in a healthy, effective way.