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Help your child manage emotions

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
12 February 2022   |   3:55 am
Just as adults, children do have emotions and as we put effort in raising well-rounded kids, helping them manage their emotions is key to their overall wellbeing.

PHOTO CREDIT: ARK Group

Just as adults, children do have emotions and as we put effort in raising well-rounded kids, helping them manage their emotions is key to their overall wellbeing.

This is necessary, because children, who are unable to effectively manage their emotions, may begin to clash with their peers, family members and of course may be excluded from group activities.

A key step in helping your kids manage emotions is to identify feelings. If your child is unaware of the feeling he is experiencing and/or cannot label it, it will be more difficult to teach him how to manage it.

Hence, you can begin by teaching your child to identify when he is happy, sad or angry. Once this is sorted, you can now teach your child relaxation techniques to deal with the negative emotions especially when he is angry or anxious. It could be counting numbers one to ten, taking deep breaths, stepping out of the scenario or distracting self with a physical activity – Yoga or games.

As a parent, it is also important to talk to your child when they display any emotions that is negative, this will not only help them understand the kind of emotion they feel, but find a way of coming out of that feeling without being very hurt. While verbal cues are good, parents should also know when it is necessary to use non-verbal cue to send a message.

Children who display a feeling of anger, stress, sadness, can react in different ways, while some may choose to stay alone, others may bite their fingers, pick their hairs or throw objects around, it is therefore important to know when verbal or non-verbal cue come to play while teaching them to manage their emotions.

While there can be environmental factors leading to the emotional reaction your child is having, find a way to modify them. It may be a general issue like your child not getting enough sleep, which could lead to being cranky and easily angered the next day. You may need to address this by limiting screen time in the evening or implementing other techniques to help your child fall asleep more easily.

Helping your child to incorporate exercise into his daily routine is a helpful preventive technique. Eating regular meals and snacks may also be helpful. If your child seems to become anxious or upset in specific situations, see if there are ways that you can change the situation or help your child handle it more effectively. If noisy and crowded situations cause anxiety, the use of noise-canceling headphones may help.

To further help your child manage emotions, you should consider creating a simple chart or card your child can use to remind him of the strategies you developed. For example, you can have a written note he can carry along to school that says, ‘When I feel sad, I need to squeeze my stress ball and take three deep breaths.’

If your child cannot read, you might want to use cartoon images that depicts happiness to help him become calmer and cope with his feelings.

This can lead to improved interactions with other children and an ability to engage more successfully in a variety of social activities. Additionally, tell them how proud you are when you see them handling their emotions with increasing maturity and reacting appropriately to tough situations.

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