Behavior such as tantrums, aggression, and meltdowns can often (but not always) be a sign of a child’s inability to express their emotions. Often times, challenging or problematic behavior can be linked to a child’s inability to identify their feelings and respond in appropriate ways. It is never too early to start talking to kids about how they are feeling.
Here are a few simple ways to get started:
-Help your child learn about different emotions in himself and others. “I can see you are sad.” or, “Molly is frustrated because she is not ready to stop playing.”
-Teach her to identify what triggers those emotions: “Why do you think he looks so angry?”
-Help him learn how to deal with difficult emotions by himself, and ask for help when needed (deep breathing, listening to music, blowing bubbles, coloring, outdoor physical activities).
There are a variety of resources, such as books, games and worksheets designed to give parents tools to communicate with their children about emotions. Know that as you help to develop your child’s emotional intelligence, you are equipping them with the tools they need to better function socially and psychologically-and those skills will last a lifetime.
Written by: Michelle Rathburn