Whether it’s the discomfort of a minor injury, a loss of a close friend or family member, or the stress from school and sports, children encounter many situations that stir intense emotions and parents often feel lost in how to support their child.

Hi, I’m Liz Blaha, Child & Adolescent Therapist at Kid Matters Counseling, and in this article, we’ll explore three ways to help your child identify and manage their emotions paving the way for their emotional strength and resilience.


Help Them Recognize What They’re Feeling


This can be difficult for some children, especially younger ones. You can help them by labeling their emotions.

When you see your child is experiencing a strong emotion, name the emotion for them. For example, if they’re crying, you could say, “I can see you’re feeling sad.”

Also, make sure to talk to your child about emotions regularly. Read books about emotions, watch movies or TV shows that deal with emotions, and talk about how you’re feeling. Model the behaviors you want to reinforce, by routinely sharing about your own emotions.

You can also try playing “emotion games.” For example, give your child some playdough and ask them to create sculptures or shapes that represent different emotions. They can also use the playdough to make faces that express different emotions.


Help Your Child Understand What’s Causing Those Emotions


You can help them understand their emotions by asking them open-ended questions about their feelings. For example, you could ask, “What made you feel that way?” or “What’s going on inside of you?”

Also, help your child identify what triggers their emotions. For example, if they get anxious before school, you could help them identify the things that make them anxious, such as taking tests or talking to friends.

And, let your child know that it’s okay to feel all sorts of emotions, even negative ones. It is very important that you don’t minimize their feelings or tell them they shouldn’t feel that way.


Help Your Child Develop Coping Skills


These are handy tools for managing emotions, and they’re great at dialing down those tantrums, outbursts, and any self-destructive behaviors.

Some healthy coping skills include things like taking deep breaths when your child is feeling overwhelmed. Or hitting a pillow instead of of hitting the wall.

You can also encourage your child to talk to someone they trust about their feelings, such as a parent, teacher, counselor, or friend. Or, if your child is feeling overwhelmed, help them take a break from whatever is causing them stress. This could mean taking a walk or some other physical break where you move your body, listening to music, drawing a picture, or reading a book.

Remember, it’s important to be patient and understanding when helping your child identify and manage their emotions. It takes daily time and practice for children to develop these skills and use them effectively.

And, if you’re concerned about your child’s emotional development, don’t hesitate to contact us today and schedule an appointment. We’re here to help.


Liz Blaha

Liz Blaha

Child & Adolescent Therapist

I’m here to guide your child on a journey of self-discovery, helping them to face and understand their emotions.

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