Maria will be going live every other week, answering your questions, and today’s big question was how do you help your children manage big emotions? You can watch the video here.
The first thing is that you CAN NOT teach them when they are in the moment!!! You need to teach them when they are calm, having a good day and ready to learn. ?So be sure to start teaching them about the following when they aren’t upset!
Maria had two parts to her answer when it comes to helping children manage big emotions. The first is to teach them emotional IQ. Start, at a very young age, teaching them what emotions look like, sound like and help them to identify them by name. Author Todd Parr has great feeling flashcards that are amazing tools in helping to teach children what emotions are and look like. Another great way is to teach them about emotions is when you are out and about, or reading books. Look around and DISCREETLY point out some folks and ask them if they can describe how they think a person is feeling. Also, take it a step further and help them learn what emotions feel like in their own body. Anger might feel hot or “building up” in their chest. Sadness might feel draining or tiring.
The second part to Maria’s answer is teaching them calming techniques or self-regulation strategies (also required by adults!!). A great way to talk about this is at the dinner table – bring up different scenarios (a friend says something mean, a sibling takes a toy, etc..) and then discuss different ways that they can calm themselves (manage their emotions) when they’re in the heat of the moment. A few calming techniques that Maria brought up are:
- Deep breathing
- making a fist and relaxing it (several times)
- pressure points (taking your pointer finger and thumb and rubbing your ear)
- grabbing your necklace and rubbing it
- Blowing into your hand
Once your child is in the heat of the moment, you can calmly suggest one of the discussed techniques, “Honey, you’re really upset right now. Why don’t you try counting/humming/deep breathing?” It may take a few times, but remember that even as adults, we don’t always get that self-regulation down right away either! ?
Remember that Maria alternates these videos between her author page and the private Empowering Kids with Character page, which provides more ideas on the monthly theme and also support from fellow parents and educators!
Transcribed by Mandy Bush, Executive Assistant