Your job is to teach your kids how to deal with expressing their emotions.
Chances are good that you’ve watched your toddler have a complete meltdown because she couldn’t get her pants buttoned all by herself. Of course, you’ve experienced days when you’ve wanted to stomp your feet, throw your jeans across the room and cry because you can’t get your pants buttoned either, but that’s for a much different reason. You do it because once a month you’re a little testy and irritated. Your daughter does this because she doesn’t know how to appropriately deal with expressing her emotions. It’s your job as a mom to make sure she learns to recognize and deal with expressing her emotions, because she simply does not know how to let you know she’s angry or frustrated. To show you how she feels, she might behave inappropriately by throwing items or having a fit. You can help her learn to express her emotions in a healthy, positive manner.
1Teach your toddler to recognize his emotions by giving them words. When he is sad because he didn’t get to go on a school field trip due to sickness, explain to him that he is feeling sad because he didn’t get to go. If he’s angry because his sister took his favorite toy from him, tell him that what he’s feeling is anger. This helps him understand that specific feelings go with specific words, which teaches him to recognize how he’s feeling and express it to you without acting out to show you.
2Show your child examples of emotions. While reading a book to her, show her the facial expression her favorite princess is making and explain it to her. Show her that Cinderella is happy when her mice and bird friends show her the dress they made for her. This helps her to recognize what different emotions look like, which means she will be able to better express them to you when she’s feeling them.
3Use real life examples. Have your toddler think back to last night and how angry you were when the dog went potty on the kitchen floor. Ask him to show you the face you made when you were angry and then talk to him about what the appropriate behavior is when a person is angry. Tell him that when you are angry you like to take a few deep breaths or sit down for a few minutes while you calm down and think about a way to fix what is making you angry. By showing him that you can express your emotions in a positive way, even when the emotion is negative, you can teach him to do the same.
4Shower your child with praise when she tells you she’s angry or happy or sad or scared instead of showing you in an inappropriate manner. This kind of praise will make her feel good and more likely to talk to you about her emotions the next time she is feeling something different from usual.
5Talk about feelings whenever possible. Use every possible scenario as an example of expressing feelings the appropriate way. When he tells you that his brother took a toy from him, ask him how that made him feel. When his friend from school’s mom has a new baby, ask him how he thinks having a new sister makes his friend feel. Everything is an example, and you can never teach your kids too much about expressing their emotions in a healthy manner.
- Remember that you are teaching a toddler. It can be frustrating when your child has a fit when something doesn’t go her way after you’ve tried teaching her how to appropriately express her emotions, but you cannot be a bad example when this happens.