1. Identifying Feelings Identifying feelings is the first step to helping your child learn how to deal with them. Encourage your child to draw pictures of different feeling faces and compile them into a book. When the book is complete, look through the book with your child and do the following things: 1. Talk about the feeling portrayed and what might make a person feel that way. Allow your child time to generate ideas. 2. Talk about what a person can do when they have said feelings.
2. Story time When reading stories to your child, pause to ask what he thinks the character in the book is feeling. Ask about a time he felt that way, and what he did about it. Ask him to predict what the character might do about it or how he thinks he will handle it. Story time is a great time to expand upon feelings, as your child will likely be in a relaxed state and primed to learn. This discussion will also help your child problem-solve how to handle BIG FEELINGS. Those will be ideas he can access in the future when he is faced with strong emotions.
3. BIG FEELINGS Helping kids manage BIG FEELINGS can be a challenge. Especially if their big feelings sets off a chain reaction that has you feeling just as upset as they are. Don’t get sucked into joining in. You cannot be an effective “feelings coach” if you do! Stay calm! Print and Laminate “How Big is Your Anger?” Visual Tool to help kids identify how big their feelings is and how to shrink it in size!
4. Teaching Self-Control Childs play is one of the best ways to drive home lessons to young children. Play is the natural language of children and a natural route to self-discover. Playing games that teach self-control over and over again will solidify the lesson in your child’s mind. By the time your child gets to college, will it matter what his age was when he learned to read, tie his shoes or do long division? Probably not as much as you might think. Research shows that what will likely matter more is how well he learned to handle BIG feelings (such as anger), cope with distress, manage difficult situations and the like. Self-regulation. And self-regulation and other social-emotional skills have perhaps a bigger influence on our success in life than some of the typical yardsticks we use to measure future success (such as grades, standardized test scores, etc.). There are lots of ways in which we can promote self-regulation. When your child was an infant, you picked him up and comforted him when he was upset. You helped him calm down. You helped him regulate his emotions by soothing him. Eventually, your infant grows and begins to take this task over, by soothing himself. He’ll still need you to act as a guide, but eventually, he’ll be able to self-regulate. So, how can you help?
Fun and Games:
These favorite childhood games do more than just pass the time. They actually help children develop self-regulation skills. Each of these games requires that children pay attention, follow directions and control themselves. And that, as we know, is very important. Click here for instructions on how to play each of the games listed below.
- Red Light
- Green Light
- Simon Says
- Freeze Tag
5. Making All Feelings Okay Not minimizing kids’ feelings, allowing them to process the emotions is healthy and desirable. What’s more, kids who can manage their upset may have built in immunity to substance abuse and other addictions. Here are Five Reasons Not to Minimize Your Child’s Feelings.
6. Feelings Charades Here’s another fun way to help kids learn about feelings (free printable charade cards and blank template to make your own cards): Feelings Charades. Click Here for my post containing many FREE Emotion Cards.
7. How Are You Feeling Chart. Click Here for my post with many FREE Feelings Charts. You can make Emotion Cards or use them to check in with how your child is feeling throughout the day.
8. Mix & Match Feelings with Easter Eggs. This will help build emotional vocabulary and identify feelings.
9. Free Resource: The Anger Tool Box: Does Your Child Have Over-the-Top Anger? If you have a pint-sized person who has over-the-top anger, nobody has to tell you how much it can impact your child’s life AND your life. It may impact the whole family. When a child’s anger is bigger than she is, it can interfere with her making and keeping friends, feeling good about herself and feeling confident in her ability to interact with the world. Parents and caregivers often report feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and incompetent when it comes to trying to help the child change. Often times, it results in a cycle of anger, acting out, punishment and more anger. That vicious cycle becomes an anger merry-go-round that nobody likes to be on, but they’re not sure how to get off of it.
Help Your Child Get Off of the Anger Merry-Go-Round!
The anger merry-go-round can lead to kids beginning to feel ineffectual in handling their feelings, and can begin to erode their self-esteem. This wear and tear is avoidable and there’s no magic wand needed. It’s as simple as:
1. Changing how you view your child’s anger.
2. Managing your own reaction/not personalizing.
3. Teaching solid social-emotional skills.
4. Providing age-appropriate anger-reduction activities.
5. Providing ongoing support.
Here is a free resource from the “Spin-Doctor Parenting” called Anger Tool Box for Kids:
Anger Toolbox for Kids:
- Mp3 Audio Download (about 45 minutes): http://gallery.mailchimp.com/bf57c46e9133c122edb1f0196/files/Anger_Toolbox_for_Kids.mp3
- 3 Hand Outs (free printable): 1) anger_toolbox.2_strategies 2)anger_toolbox._handout_1 3)anger_merry_go_round
1. The origins of anger in children
2. The physical and emotional reactions that occur when kids get mad
3. Why some kids experience anger much more intensely than others
4. The top ways we inadvertently encourage more “over-the-top” anger reactions in our kids
5. Ways we can HELP our kids deal with anger
Anger Tool Box Printable includes a printable card to include in your child’s Tool Box that they personalize “It bugs me when ______ and I wish ________.” Additionally it includes a picture list of items to have inside the tool box: play dough, book/magazine, crayons, bubbles…
Angry Merry Go Round Printable is a picture diagram of the Anger Cycle when PUNISHMENT is used: ANGER —> ACTING OUT —> PUNISHMENT —> MORE ANGER (start the cycle over).
Anger Tool Box Handout Printable includes a picture of the brain and the key points that you will learn from the Mp3 audio.