Acknowledge and validate feelings.
When your child is filled with giggles or overwhelmed by tears, you have an opportunity to help her recognize the emotion. By responding with patience, empathy and understanding, you can encourage your kids to learn self control, build self-confidence, do better in school and get along with others. When you value emotions, you are teaching your kids that their feelings count.
Try a child’s-eye view.
Look at the world from your child’s perspective. Observe playtime for clues to what is making him anxious, scared, happy or proud. It’s a big confusing world from a childs point of view and sometimes even simple things become frustrations when a child is hungry or tired and just doesn’t feel good.
Listen and identify emotions.
Take the time to listen to your child and understand what she is feeling. Help her identify feelings with words she can use like “angry,” “hurt” or “frustrated.” By talking about emotions early and often, you teach your kids how to handle feelings at home, at school and for the rest of their lives. It takes years to learn to understand and react well to feelings — especially strong feelings and changing moods.
Later is better than not at all.
Life is busy and not every parenting moment is perfect. In fact, if you respond to your child most of the time, you’re doing great. If there isn’t time to deal with strong emotions in the moment, don’t hesitate to come back later in the day and say something like, “I didn’t feel very good about how I treated you this morning. You seemed upset and I didn’t take the time to ask you what was wrong.” If you recognize a child’s feelings, he knows you care.
Provide emotional first aid.
You can reassure your kids in times of emotional crisis by telling them that you care for them no matter what they are feeling; that they are not alone; that you understand their feelings because you have felt that way too; and that it’s okay to have the feelings they are having.
Help find solutions.
When the crisis has passed, encourage your child to suggest ideas for solutions to the problem that triggered the feelings.