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The Parent’s Guide to Helping Kids with Their Feelings

My kid turned 4 a few days ago and a thought has been circulating through my mind a lot:

How to Support My Child’s Emotions

Emotions are natural and essential for learning and growing. Here are some tips on how to help your child express and cope with their feelings in healthy ways:

Talk about emotions regularly. Label your own and your child’s emotions and connect them with body cues and situations. Teach your child coping strategies that can help them calm down or cheer up.

For example, you can say, “I feel happy when I see you smile” or “You look angry. Did something happen?”

Validate your child’s feelings. Acknowledge and accept their emotions without judging, dismissing, or minimizing them. Show empathy and compassion.

For example, you can say, “I can see that you are very sad about losing your toy. That must be hard.” or “You are really excited about going to the park. I’m happy for you.”

Create a safe space. Make a cozy corner where your child can go when they feel overwhelmed by their emotions. Use the safe space yourself when you need a break.

For example, you can say, “I’m feeling frustrated right now. I’m going to sit on the couch for a few minutes so I can calm down and be a better problem-solver.”

Teach coping skills. Help your child practice breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, grounding techniques, positive self-talk, and creative outlets to manage their emotions positively.

Be a role model. Show your child that you can cope with your emotions in healthy ways. Share your feelings, use coping skills, apologize, express gratitude, and show kindness and respect.

For example, you can: Apologize when you make a mistake or hurt someone’s feelings, Express gratitude for the good things in your life

Emotions are a gift that enriches our lives and relationships. By supporting your child’s emotions, you can foster their emotional well-being and resilience.

If you like this, you can check my book for more parenting content.

Side by side is a book about the first years of parenting. Both the beauty and the hidden side of parenting. The long nights and troubled days. Parents who try and fail and then try again. And how your little one puts a smile on your face and you forget everything just in time to start a new challenging day.  It follows the first 2 years of a new dad and his journey, side by side, along with his son. 

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