Help your child develop good enough emotional resilience so they can better manage and bounce back from stressful or difficult situations and prevent them from being overwhelming.
Resilience is developed from birth so it’s never to early to start.
Providing a Nurturing Environment - building self-esteem
- Value your child’s decisions and choices – you don’t have to always go with them, but acknowledge them as worthwhile.
- Discuss with them choices and potential outcomes – this values their contribution and builds confidence
- Trust them and their ability to manage – or at least have a go
- Value their attempts
- Let them make mistakes – supporting with suggestions / not always answers when needed
- Encourage them to problem solve
- Try not to control all their decisions / options- give them a choice of options / outcomes etc so they feel valued and that they have a voice.
- Resist the temptation to always give in to demands – they need to learn that expectations and boundaries are consistent and that they won’t always be able to have what they want.
Modelling - not always but sometimes ...
- Talk with your child about how you are managing your emotions. Maybe by:
- Calling a friend
- going for a walk
- drawing / colouring
- deep breathing etc
This helps them:
- to see that emotions can be managed
- build strategies that can help them
Teach the Language of Emotion - not always but sometimes
- Talk with your child about how you are feeling and why.
- Describe the sensations your body is experiencing – butterflies in the tummy, tight muscles, racing heart, feeling hot etc
a) Helps children learn to recognise emotions by their bodies sensations / reactions – this can give them an early warning to use a help strategy before the emotion takes over.
b) Gives children the language of emotion so that they can begin to express their own emotions better.
Support to Manage Emotions
- Help children spot their feelings and emotions.
- Voice what you see – I wonder if you are feeling cross, you look very red? You look all floppy, I wonder if you are feeling sad about something?
- Value their feelings (it’s ok to feel ……) – avoid putting your slant on it. Remember it’s real to them.
- When they are more settled, talk through their feelings and the trigger.
- Discuss what could be done now / next time to manage the situation.
Remember to explore what they are feeling, not tell them, as we don’t always know.
Explore what helps your child manage different emotions. Try…..
- Playing with sand / flour
- Running around
- Being cuddled
- Wrapped in a duvet
- Star jumping
- Use these as suggestions for your child, when you see an emotion developing, to help them calm. ‘I can see you are (eg: getting hot / tense) ………. Let’s go and. …. (eg: do 10 star jumps, have a cuddle, etc)