Stress has become a constant companion in many of our lives over the past few months.
Will there be enough food at the grocery store?
How long will we have to stay indoors?
Will I be able to get my work done with my kids at home?
Unbeknownst to most of us, our kids are picking up on our emotional temperature. If we’re cool, calm and collected, they will benefit. But if we’re hot, bothered and frustrated, they will definitely pick up on that as well.
The panic, confusion, anger, or disappointment that you may be feeling during the Coronavirus pandemic can be seen and oftentimes felt by your little ones at home. That added stress, along with a big change in your children’s normal routine, can take a peaceful home and turn it into chaos in no-time.
You may be worried that your child's emotional responses are a little haywire. I've developed this quiz from 3-7 year olds, so you can take your child's emotional temperature. Afterwards, discover the 3 ways you can help your children get control of their emotions.
Section A (check all that apply)
___My child has frequent emotional meltdowns.
___My child is unable to calm down quickly when upset.
___My child is unable to describe what they’re feeling.
___My child throws things when angry.
___My child does not like to be touched, hugged or cuddled.
___My child hits, tugs or punches when frustrated.
___My child never expresses what they’re thinking.
Section B (check all that apply)
___My child has infrequent emotional meltdowns.
___My child is able to quickly calm down when upset.
___My child uses emotion words to describe their feelings (e.g. “I’m
___My child never throws things when angry.
___My child likes to be touched, hugged and cuddled.
___My child rarely acts out or throws tantrums.
___My child expresses what they’re thinking (e.g. “I like this…they’re being mean…I’m mad…I love you,” etc.)
If you have more checks in section B, then your child’s emotional temperature is cool. If you have more checks in section A, your child’s emotional temperature is hot and needs to be cooled down. Here are three ways to help your kids stay in control emotionally.
1. HELP CHILDREN IDENTIFY THEIR FEELINGS
It’s hard for children to know that they’re experiencing emotions. When they’re overwhelmed or frustrated, or sad, it can be difficult for your children to identify exactly what they're feeling. Parents, you can help your child become aware of their feelings by simply asking, “What are you thinking and feeling right now?” This will help them to identify their thoughts and the feelings associated with those thoughts.
2. HELP THEM BUILD A STRONG EMOTIONAL VOCABULARY
Use emotion words that your child can understand to describe different feelings. Take a picture book and say things like “Look at her face, she looks so scared,” or “He looks so happy, doesn’t he?” This helps children name what they’re feeling accurately and helps them to be strong and confident with a variety of different emotions.
3. TEACH CHILDREN HOW TO MANAGE THEIR EMOTIONS
Teach your children different ways to manage their emotions. Develop a management list with them by brainstorming ways that they can express their feelings appropriately. Your list might include, taking a walk or sitting down quietly when they are upset about something. Talk about positive and not so positive ways to deal with feelings. This will help them to choose the best way to respond.
In the times we are living in, children need a way to cope and handle their emotions.For toddlers and young children, common behavioral problems arise when they don’t have the skills to assess what they’re thinking, how they’re feeling, and the impact their thoughts and feelings are having on how they behave. It takes practice, but if parents can help their children tune into their thoughts and feelings, they will have a better chance of curbing unwanted behavior by supporting their child’s positive thoughts, feelings, and actions. When children get the opportunity to learn themselves and learn where their power comes from, they are truly strong and unstoppable.