Helping children understand and express their emotions can be difficult. It's important to understand that children's behavior is often linked to underlying causes that parents may overlook in trying to simply calm them down.
One way to address this is by using language that is inviting and encourages children to share their thoughts and feelings. Instead of using confrontational language, try asking open-ended questions such as "Can you tell me more about how you're feeling?"
Here are four phrases that can help children express their emotions better:
- "I'm always here for you, no matter what." This phrase provides children with a sense of security and the courage to open up.
- "It's okay to feel ___, I'm here to talk whenever you want to." Validating children's emotions can help them feel safe and secure in expressing them without fear of being misunderstood or judged.
- "I can see you're having a tough time with ___, what can we do to make it better?" Encourage critical thinking and problem-solving by acknowledging the situation and asking for suggestions on how to improve it.
- "It seems like you haven't been yourself lately. Is there something bothering you?" When children don't immediately verbalize their feelings, approach the topic with empathy and reassurance that you're there for them and are grateful for when they do open up.