5 Ways to Help Your Kids Talk About Their Emotions
You want your child to be able to talk with you about anything, but how do you help them feel comfortable in doing so?
1. Encourage open discussion on feelings
If your child starts talking about how they feel about something, let them. Even if it seems insignificant to you...that misplaced toy or that cancelled plan may really be important to them. Whatever it is, allow your child to talk about it.
2. Normalize the expression of emotions
It is okay for your child to feel and express emotions. Avoid phrases like, “Stop being a cry baby,” “You’re being so emotional right now,” or “Toughen up”. While these phrases may be said innocently, they carry the impression that it isn’t okay to express a certain emotion and that not displaying emotions is equal to being tough.
3. Teach your child about emotions
Emotions...we feel them, but they can be tricky to put a name to. Helping your child connect the feelings they are experiencing to labeled emotions can foster their understanding of emotions. Expand their vocabulary past “happy,” “sad,” and “mad,” what about “envious,” “ecstatic,” or “enraged”?
4. Lend an ear...and a helping hand
Sometimes all a child needs is to vent. Be there to listen and to allow them that time to get their thoughts laid out. After that, take some time to validate how they feel and let them know it’s okay to feel crummy sometimes, we all do at times.
5. Be a role model
Children learn a ton from observing the people around them the most, so what is better than helping your child express emotions than showing your own emotions. This doesn’t mean sharing everything with your child. Rather, it means being able to show your child that it is normal to feel all kinds of emotions and that adults feel those emotions too.
Those are some tips for fostering an emotion-friendly household. While all children are different and have different levels of comfort with sharing emotions, kids will feel more comfortable sharing how they feel if they know they are safe and supported in doing so. We encourage you to try out some of these tips and see what works best for you and your family!