How to help your child express their feelings

Justina Valentine

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How to help your child express their feelings

As a parent or caregiver, it is essential for you to help your child understand and express his feelings. Young children may have difficulty expressing their emotions, which can lead to frustration and difficult behaviors.

As humans, we go through a variety of emotions throughout the day, which inform us of how we feel about certain things. However, as children are growing, they feel different new emotions, some of which they can’t understand, and this results in a failure to express how they feel.

As a parent, you can help your child express his feelings and communicate clearly by trying some of the techniques stated below. Let’s get started.

8 Best Techniques to Help Your Child Express Their Feelings

It is normal for children to struggle with naming, identifying, and expressing their feelings, as some of these feelings are new. Therefore, they find it difficult to pinpoint how they feel. How can you help your child express certain feelings like joy, sadness, fear, anger, or frustration?

1. Name the emotions.

Feelings are something as abstract as every day. When adults name feelings in daily life, they include words like “happy,” “sad,” or “angry” in their vocabulary.

As an adult, you can use words to describe your emotions so that your child can label their own. Children learn by imitation. If your child is sad, say, “I understand that you’re feeling sad right now.”

In addition, children’s ability to express themselves and their ability to develop an emotional vocabulary are both enhanced by encouraging the use of words to describe how they feel.

2. Role-play based on emotions

Play-based activities, such as role-playing, can help children learn about different feelings and how to express them. Gestures and facial expressions are the most visible emotions. It is what can be seen with the naked eye and often indicates how the person in front of us is feeling.

Learning to express emotion can be the most dynamic and fun. In this sense, mime or representation games can be very useful. For example, they can play a role in which one chooses an emotion to recreate with the body without saying a word, and the other has to guess what it is. 

They can also do something similar with images from magazines, newspapers, or pictograms and identify the emotional states of those who appear there. You can also act out various emotions, such as happiness, sadness, anger, or fear, and have your child imitate you. This will help your child identify and express his feelings in a fun, non-threatening way.

3. The use of art

Uses of emoticons to help children express their feelings

When it comes to expressing emotions, art can be a powerful tool for kids who are struggling. Many ways of using art to express emotion involve encouraging your child to create collages out of images to express their emotions. 

Your child can also express his feelings by painting or drawing and using colors to identify how he feels. For example, red is for anger, yellow is for joy, and so on.

However, one technique that worked for me was purchasing a variety of emoticons and letting my children select the emotions they wanted to express. This was a fun and logical way for them to express themselves.

4. Identify the emotions of characters in stories and movies.

Through the stories they hear in books and movies, children have an easy way to learn how to express their feelings. The children will be able to relate to the emotions of the characters by simply looking at them.

It can be simpler to understand another person’s emotions than it is to identify our own. In this case, it would be more engaging to have the children talk about the various moods that are present throughout the movie or story. 

While watching a movie, I frequently ask the following questions:

How is this person feeling emotionally?
Why did he feel that way?
Imagine yourself in his position. How would you feel?
Is this feeling valid?
How can we stop him from feeling that way?

This last question helps me react when my child feels certain emotions.

5. Practice mindfulness

Children who struggle to control their emotions and cope with stress may benefit from mindfulness practices like meditation and deep breathing.

When your child is upset, encourage them to take a few deep breaths and concentrate on their breathing. They will become more composed as a result and express their emotions more clearly.

6. Encourage physical activity.

Through exercise, kids can let off steam and reduce stress. Take your child for walks, play a sport with them, or dance with them to get them moving. They will be able to better manage their emotions and feel more relaxed.

7. Create a dictionary of emotions.

How to help your child express their feelings

Make sure your child understands that feelings are a fundamental aspect of life and something that all humans experience. However, it’s essential to convey to them that each emotion is valid, even though some are pleasant and others unpleasant. 

Let your child know that it is normal to feel all kinds of emotions and that it is best to freely express them because it makes us feel better. To express what each emotion means to them in words or drawings, all they need is a nice notebook and a variety of pencils. 

Children may initially become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of emotions present. It is, however, advisable to begin this technique with the six fundamental emotions of anger, sadness, joy, disgust, surprise, and fear.

8. Ask fun questions.

Emotions are incredibly complex mental processes. It is difficult to sum them up in a few simple sentences. However, you can use playful questions like, “Where in your body do you feel anger?” and “If joy were an object, what would it be?” to help children better understand their own emotions. If fear could talk to you, what would it say? What if it were a color?

The children will also do some self-reflection work while increasing their creativity as a result of these questions. Although it’s important to reassure them, make it clear that there is no right or wrong response and emphasize that this is just a game with no winners or losers.

The importance of children learning to express their feelings

Helping children learn to express their feelings is essential for their overall well-being and development. Children who have control over their emotions are ready and willing to form healthy relationships, manage stress, and regulate their emotions. Here are some important reasons why you should help your child to express his feelings:

1. Emotional regulation

Emotional regulation skills are better developed in kids who can express their feelings. Children are more able to control stress and steer clear of negative behaviors when they can recognize and name their feelings. Additionally, children’s emotional well-being can be improved by teaching them how to express their emotions and create healthy coping mechanisms.

2. Improved relationships

Children who can express their feelings are better able to establish and maintain healthy relationships. They can communicate their feelings and are more likely to be understood by others. They are also less likely to run into conflict and have better communication skills, making it simpler to resolve disputes and forge lasting bonds with others.

3. Better mental health

A child’s mental health is better if they can express their emotions. Children who express their emotions more frequently have a lower risk of developing mental health conditions like anxiety or depression. Due to their improved ability to process their life experiences, your children will develop a positive self-image, therefore boosting their self-esteem.

4. Empathy and understanding

Children who learn to express their emotions also grow in empathy and understanding for others. They are more able to understand and accept the emotions of others and respond with kindness and compassion.

5. Improved academic performance

Academic success is more likely in children who can communicate their feelings better. Children’s behavior can be controlled by expressing their emotions, which also helps in lowering stress and therefore enhancing concentration. Children who perform better academically are composed and focused because they can concentrate in class and retain information better.

Final thought 

For children’s emotional growth and well-being, it is essential to support their understanding of and ability to express their emotions.

You can assist them in identifying their emotions and communicating clearly by teaching them the techniques stated above. Helping your children identify and express their feelings can also help them develop important life skills that will benefit them well into adulthood.

However, you have to be patient, as no two kids are the same. Stick to a technique that works best for your child.

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