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Teaching your child different strategies for managing their emotions is a good idea, because it may reduce temper tantrums and other outbursts. Of course, sulking and stropping are a perfectly normal part of childhood, but there are healthier ways for your child to express themselves. I have teamed up with a private nursery in London to share some advice on how you can help your child manage their emotions.
Give Emotions Names
Young children don’t yet understand what it is they’re feeling, especially when they don’t have a name for those emotions. With that said, be sure to label emotions as they arise. This should help your child develop the language skills they need to communicate their feelings, rather than throwing a tantrum or crying. So, if your child is struggling with their homework, you could say something like “It looks like you’re getting a little upset/annoyed/frustrated with this, so why don’t I come and help you?”. Then, the next time they feel this way they will be able to tell you that they feel upset and ask you for help, rather than crying. Label your own emotions too, so that your child become familiar with different feelings and what they’re called.
Teach Coping Mechanisms
Try and explore various coping mechanisms so that your child can learn how to deal with their emotions in a healthy manner. For example, if they’re getting annoyed with a board game, encourage them to take a break or go into another room for a breather. If they seem anxious about something, practise mindfulness to calm them down and bring them back to the present moment. Different coping strategies work for different people, so don’t be afraid to try a few different tactics.
Be a Good Role Model
When trying to teach your child a particular way to behave, showing them how its done is the best thing you can do. So, be a good role model and demonstrate appropriate ways to deal with your emotions. Avoid shouting and swearing when you’re angry, and always apologise if you do lose your temper.