Think back to when you were a child. Were you taught how to properly manage your emotions? Most adults, me included, would probably say no, at least in a way that was healthy.
I remember being taught how to hold in my emotions. There were times when all I wanted to do was cry, but couldn’t. Other times I wanted to be expressive, and I couldn’t be.
Now that I have children of my own, I see the importance of teaching them how to identify their emotions, process their feelings, and problem solve through it all.
There are times when just a word will do. Then there are times when a little something extra is needed. And even then, you can rest assured that what is modeled for children will also speak loudly. Overall, it’s all about social skills.
There are certain situations and circumstances where you can talk through something. An instance happens and quick, “Hey it’s okay.” or a “Calm down.” will suffice.
But what about those meltdowns where a simple redirection using a quick word doesn’t work – or even possibly makes it worse?
Before going into panic mode, which can sometimes lead to a yelling frenzy, consider the learning moment that is on the brink. Keep in mind your child’s inability to properly express what is going on within themselves.
At this point, it’s not giving in when you decide to give your child a moment to calm down. It’s also smart for us parents to take a moment to calm down as well, am I right?
After a few moments have passed, re-approach the situation with calm words and dialogue. This not only teaches your child how to use meaningful words, but they are also processing a healthy way to communicate through their emotions.
A Little Something Extra
Let’s say words are simply not helping at all. This is where I would recommend something like Soothing Sammy from JDEducational. Early Childhood Development Specialist, Jeana, has over 15 years of experience working with children birth to age six. While obtaining her Masters degree she “became fascinated learning about brain development and the maturity that happens within the first five years of a child’s life.”
Through her experiences in this field, she was able to create a product that teaches different calm down strategies. In her Soothing Sammy there is a stuffed animal (dog), a beautifully written book, and a parent guide (optional).
We actually own a Soothing Sammy set and enjoy snuggling up to read the story, especially in those much needed moments. For a few days straight, my daughter wouldn’t let little Sammy out of her sight.
The point of a resource like this is to help teach children how to manage their emotions in a way they will understand, remember and implement. It’s awesome when our children know they can grab a book, a plush dog, and feel calmer. Another perk for this mama is when my kiddos go grab the book just because.
What they don’t realize are the concepts and reinforcement of appropriate behavior being communicated every time I read the story. They are seeing beautifully illustrated pictures they can understand while hearing words that connect the dots in their mind. What I see are opportunities to continually teach sensory strategies that help them calm down in overstimulated moments.
Using the appropriate verbiage and even having a little something extra like Soothing Sammy is fantastic, but the icing on the cake is the behavior we as parents are modeling for our children.
I used to be that mom. You know, the one who would flip her lid, lose control, and go just a little crazy yelling and occasionally throwing a thing or two? Yeah, that was me.
How could I be surprised when my kids would yell, throw toys, or mock any other behavior modeled for them? I couldn’t be! Thing is, I have to work on myself just as much as I want to work with them on processing their emotions properly.
When Mommy (and Daddy) are cool, calm, and collective, typically our children will be as well. Because every moment isn’t perfect, there are times when I overreact. So, what do I do in those moments? Take a moment, calm down, and come back to my children with an apology. This is something that is not normally expected of parents, but I beg to differ.
Showing our children how to handle their emotions through meaningful words, extra helpers, and appropriate behavior is one of the best ways we can set them up for what I like to call emotional success!
CHIME IN: What are some emotion-coping strategies that you teach your children? Share in the comments below!