It’s sometimes hard for us as adults to explain how we’re feeling. Am I really angry or just hungry? Am I feeling sad or just tired? It’s even more challenging for our kids sometimes because they don’t have the understanding or vocabulary to explain to us what’s going on.
Today I’ll chat about three big emotions our kids sometimes have and how we can help them navigate them:
When another child has what yours wants or achieves something your child desires, kids can act out in ways that are surprising. They might be angry and yell. They might say mean things to or about the other child. They might withdraw because they’re comparing what the other person has to what they have.
We can assure our children that they can be honest with how they’re feeling. It’s okay to say that you want what someone else has. It’s not okay for us to stay parked there. Instead, let’s encourage our kids to put on an attitude of gratitude. Ask them to look around and say or write down what they’re thankful for. Let’s encourage them to celebrate the other child because we’d want others to celebrate with them too.
In the fall, my daughter complained of stomachaches several times within a month. I wondered if she had a tummy bug or was developing a food intolerance. One day she said she felt really hot and flushed at school. I wondered if she had been drinking enough water.
As I investigated further into what was happening in class, I discovered that she was feeling anxious about classwork. Anxiety often manifests itself in physical symptoms, like headaches, stomachaches or feeling hot and flushed.
We were able to talk things through and how to cope with the anxious feelings by praying, taking deep breaths, and talking about her worries. Verbalizing the thoughts in our heads can be a helpful tool and we’ll need to lead the way to help our kids through that.
The pandemic has been hard on everyone and most adults have felt lonely throughout it at various times. Our kids have too.
Some kids are good at vocalizing that they want someone to play with, but others might withdraw or start acting out because they want attention and connection. Ask questions that can help you identify what they really want, like “Are you feeling alone and that you’d like someone to spend time with you?” You can provide them with your time or arrange a play date to see if it the loneliness improves.
I’ve learned that helping my kids learn about emotions and how to work through them has been helpful to me as well. What have you learned as you teach your kids to work through their big emotions?