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Teach Kids How to Deal with Their Feelings


A picture of a mom consoling her daughter.

Calming your child is one method you can use to get her to open up about her feelings.

Photo © Ariel Skelley / Getty Images
Emotions are quite complex. Teach your kids how to deal with the many feelings they experience every day.

Make an Emotions Book

A younger child goes through a roller coaster of emotions each day. Make an emotions book together so she can better comprehend what she's feeling and label those emotions with a word.

Find What Calms Your Child

We often try to talk to our children while they're in meltdown mode. You can't have a conversation until you have calmness.

Find what calms your child and stick to it. It may be sitting in her room, being held or counting to 10. This calming period focuses her on settling down, which will distract her from that heightened sense of emotion. Once she begins to regain her composure, talk to her about the emotion she just experienced and what she can do next time to share her feelings in a different way.

Encourage Your Child to Use Words

Even adults have a hard time expressing how they feel sometimes. When emotions get out of control in children, it often results in full-blown screaming and crying.

Encourage her to use words to label her feelings. In the beginning, you will have to throw her some rope to help her along. For instance, don't just ask her what's wrong and expect a well-thought out response.

She may be completely confused by her own feelings. Guide her with explanations like, "You dropped your ice cream. That made you sad."

Help Your Child Find a Solution

Feelings don't always have a quick fix. But when it comes to children, many times they do.

As you talk to your child about the emotions she's experiencing, provide her with a solution when possible. "You're mad your new book got ripped. Let's tape the page and then we can read it together."

Identify the Triggers

Be a prepared parent. Identify those automatic triggers you know are going to set off your child.

Write a list of everything that instantly sends her from 0 to 100 on the emotional scale. It might be loud noises, a sibling taking toys, a routine that gets out of whack, etc.

Preparation and patience are key. The more prepared you are, the better you can help your child deal with the feelings you undoubtedly know she will experience when you run into one of her emotional triggers. The more patient you are through her range of emotions, the more you'll be the perfect example of how she can handle any situation.

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