Learning how to manage feelings is an integral part of children’s social and emotional development and overall well-being. Helping them understand that having different feelings is normal and naming the feelings they experience can help alleviate the anxiety from not knowing how to manage their own emotions. Here are a two fundamental ways parents and caregivers can help children deal with confusing emotions:

Before we can learn how to control feelings, we first have to recognize them. You can help your children identify feelings by acknowledging them when you see them and giving them labels: happy, sad, excited, frustrated, angry, embarrassed, and others. Learning to name feelings helps children express them without having to act them out.

Children learn how to manage their feelings best when they hear adults and peers using words to express them and when they are encouraged to use the same words. Learning to talk about how they are feeling helps children understand that they can have emotions without being controlled by them. Here’s a hint – talking about complicated feelings is usually best tried after the emotions have calmed down a bit, and when children, parents, and caregivers are more relaxed.

Learning to cope with feelings helps children manage their behavior at school and home. It helps them relate to others and feel better about themselves. At home try using “feeling words” when you talk with children about everyday situations: “You scored a goal! How exciting was that!” or “It’s pretty disappointing that your friend can’t play with you today.” Then invite children to describe their feelings: “How did you feel when…?”

At Heaven’s Elect, we provide a nurturing, safe and positive atmosphere for all of our children to learn how to manage new social situations and emotions.