An emotionally healthy child is a happy child. Our appreciation and support make him/her feel secure and build the self-confidence to pursue dreams. Do you want your kids to be emotionally strong? Here’s how we can facilitate their emotional development at an early age.
Nurturing kids in a warm and secure environment is our main concern, especially during the major transitions in their life: the first step they take, the first word they speak, their first day at preschool, etc. We invest plenty of time in their physical, mental and social conditioning to raise them the right way. However, we tend to overlook the emotional side, which is imperative to a child’s development.
What are emotions?
An emotion is a complex conscious experience denoting a person’s current state. It affects their actions and behaviour, and contributes to the overall mindset. Unlike elders, pre-schoolers show multi-faceted growth (physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively) in their initial years. They’re capable of experiencing and mimicking wide-ranging emotions.
An unexpected emotional overload may confuse them unless they’re prepared to cope with it. Snubbing kids often results in an emotional outburst. To prevent this, we must help them understand and distinguish between thoughts, emotions, and behaviour.
Why must we control an emotional outburst?
Toddlers may not know what to say, how to express or who to approach in times of distress. Worse, they may not know how to manage emotions and why they need elderly intervention. Constant criticism and comparison isolate them.
Parents and educators should collectively work on a child’s emotional health by improving his/her learning capability. After all, it guides their personality, future choices, and lifestyle.
Emotionally strong children:
- Discover their feelings and emotions
- Understand why and how they occur
- Acknowledge others’ feelings
- Find ways to control negative emotions and channelize positive ones)
- Learn how to respond.
Why children need to develop emotion managing skills?
The way a child responds to his/her emotions is guided by social, receptive and interpersonal skills. Pre-schoolers develop them through instruction, observation, and social interactions. With regular application, exploration, thinking, and planning, kids become proficient at managing emotions.
Emotionally healthy kids have a better control over their feelings, behaviour, and thoughts.
They show patience in extreme situations, consider various possibilities and take rational decisions. Despite experiencing anger, sadness, jealousy or stress, they easily manage negative emotions.
How Elders Facilitate Emotional Development?
Caregivers must identify and understand the emotional state of a child to help him/her sort emotions. Conventionally, we do this by—
- Recognising and responding to a child’s emotional needs
- Talking about feelings
- Giving examples of how we manage feelings
- Providing a friendly and supportive environment
Working on our own emotion managing techniques provides helpful insights to children.
Elders are hesitant to express feelings in front of children, probably because we want to stay calm and controlled. Sadly, it doesn’t help! Letting toddlers witness emotions strengthens our bond. Our kids learn positive emotion management and empathy from us.
How we guide tots to think has a dramatic impact on their response mechanism.
Tips On Raising Emotionally Healthy Kids
- Acknowledge your child’s emotions without labelling them.
It makes him/her feel understood, helps us understand their viewpoint and increases the likelihood of children approaching us for an advice.
Before encouraging kids to acknowledge their feelings, we must ensure that they’re receptive. Next, help them weigh the pros and cons of each emotion and how it affects their mental and psychological development.
- Find the reason behind their outburst.
If the child is angry/sad and recurrently throws tantrums to seek attention or to get his/her demands fulfilled, just give them some space, without creating an issue. Let them cool down before starting a discussion.
- Unconditional love is not equivalent to pampering.
Pampering is not the correct way to show unconditional love or emotional support. Rather, it develops a negative and narrow-minded personality. When we fulfil unreasonable demands and forgive intentional mistakes, kids start taking us for granted.
- Create opportunities for peer interaction.
Peers have a powerful impact on a child’s attitude. We must increase our kid’s exposure by introducing people from different age groups. Children learn to explore new experiences when interacting with new people. It inspires them to test their own theories.
A nice and welcoming friend circle creates positive emotions. Happy children have a high self-esteem. Contrary to this, children who’re bullied, left out, demeaned or teased develop negative emotions with age. Enabling kids to find their way around both is best for them.
- Use creativity to reveal their emotional side.
Engaging in different activities provides kids with opportunities to analyse feelings and prevents boredom. Their interpretation of a photo, dialogue or quote may not be right. Nonetheless, praising their efforts and encouraging them to think empowers them to handle multiple situations.
At times, understanding and supporting our children are more important than teaching lessons. In the fast-changing scenarios today, we must restyle our ways to prepare our kids for an unseen tomorrow.