Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Teaching Kids Healthy Ways to Express Their Feelings

Your kids will experience a wide range of emotions each day. They may feel elated one moment followed by disappointment in the next moment. Perhaps they are thrilled with the red helium balloon they’ve just been given, only to experience dismay when they forget to hold on and the balloon floats away. Or they may feel terrified in asking someone to the dance and then exhilarated when that person says yes.

Part of being human is experiencing all these different emotions. How your children learn to handle their feelings will affect their success in relationships and school.

Name That Feeling!

When your kids are young, they need your help in labeling their feelings. If your child is stomping his feet and snarling as he tries to zip up his jacket, you might comment “It looks like you are frustrated with trying to zip up your jacket. I feel frustrated too when things are hard to do.” Hearing this helps your child feel noticed while also learning a word to attach to his feelings.

Developing a vocabulary for describing feelings gives children words for their emotional experiences. Understanding their own feelings then allows them to appreciate other people’s feelings. Correctly reading other people’s feelings is essential for building relationships.

A chart with faces and labels can help children see the differences in feelings. A feelings chart can be used for kids to point to the face that best matches how they are currently feeling. Pictures that go along with stories are also a wonderful way to talk about what the character might be feeling.

Older kids are ready for a range of words to describe mild to strong feelings. Are they furious, angry or feeling slightly bugged? Identifying the feeling’s intensity is important in communicating and figuring out what action to take.

(finish reading "Teaching Kids Healthy Ways to Express Their Feelings" on Priceless Parenting)

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