Navigating emotions is something that everyone struggles with in one way or another. As a parent, you know that controlling your own emotions is a hard task, on top of having the task of helping your child navigate theirs. Having the tips and tools to navigate through these big feelings, while walking through hard moments can enhance life in many different ways.
Below are 10 tips to help not only your children navigate through their emotions, but maybe even help you too!
Help them to recognize their emotions
Giving your child the education and tools they need to recognize their emotions is something that could set them up for the rest of their life. Learning how to know what you are feeling, when you are feeling it is so important to learn how to get through everyday life.
Validate their feelings
Letting children know that their emotions are valid allows them the space to process their feelings. Validating a child’s feelings can look very different and does not have to be done in one particular way. Whether it be relating to one’s feelings or just being a listening ear, it makes a major difference when a child is stuck in their big emotions.
Set a good example
Being an emotionally mature adult can help a child see what it looks like when one can navigate their emotions through hard circumstances. It is important to teach a child that you cannot control the things that happen in life, but you can control how you respond to them.
Teach breathing exercises
Breathing exercises are a perfect tool for children to ALWAYS have the option of learning, whether they have a parent with them or not. This is a great place to find easy, useful breathing exercises that you can teach your youth today.
Provide safe outlets for venting
No matter your age, having someone to vent to is always a good thing. Giving your child a safe place to vent without judgment, gives them the opportunity to process their emotions out loud. It is important to remind your children that venting can be a very healthy thing.
Make a secret code
Making a secret code with your child to communicate when they are in need of extra emotional support gives them the opportunity to check in with themselves before using the secret code. When a child builds a habit to check in with themselves, they will oftentimes feel safe to communicate when they can do it without saying many (if any) words.
Don’t assume you know how kids are feeling
Having your emotions or feelings assumed never feels good, no matter your age. Giving your children the opportunity to express how they feel teaches them to be in tune with their emotions, enough to verbalize them. This is a valuable tool that will benefit them as they grow into adults.
Don’t punish emotions
A huge part of navigating emotions is feeling safe enough to feel them. Being sure to not punish your children for dealing with and feeling big emotions will teach them how to process feelings without fear.
Set expectations for handling tough feelings
Setting expectations looks different depending on the family and the child. Expectations help kids know that there is a standard they are capable of and expected to meet. Setting an expectation for your child to handle hard feelings will teach them how to walk through difficult times in life without acting out. Tough things happen and giving them an opportunity to know the expectation will set them up to be able to process through trying things in a healthy way.
Make space for working through big emotions
Giving your children a safe place to feel their emotions will teach them so much. Not only will they learn how to process their feelings, but they will learn to be a safe place for others to do the same.
Lanni Jackson, Contributor