9 tips to teach children to express their emotions

Children who suppress emotions tend to suffer from anxiety, are withdrawn and express insecurities. They prevent these behaviors by helping them externalize what they feel.

Last update: February 20, 2022

Teaching children to express their emotions influences their development and personality. The process reflects better results if from the first years you help them to identify, manifest and control what they feel.

Emotions are universal and you experience them consciously or not on a daily basis. They are understood as psychophysiological reactions to situations of danger, success, threat, novelty, etc. This is how the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine exposes it, highlighting the adaptive, social and motivational functions.

Due to age and maturity level, children do not usually express themselves in the same way as an adult. The older ones have to use adequate tactics so that the little ones adequately express sadness, anger, fear, joy and other types of emotions.

Recommendations for children to express their emotions

Help your children put a name to what they feel. This helps them manage their emotions.

Through the workshops Does it sound familiar to you?, Unicef ​​emphasizes that parents and society play a crucial role in teaching or repressing emotions during childhood. They limit that Explicitly, adults are in the capacity to instruct how to express themselves or not, and implicitly they do so with their attitudes.

Depending on age, emotions can be presented with words, gestures or crying. For example, if the child is between 1 and 2 years old, describe shaking his head, stomping on the floor, or saying “no” represents anger. From 2 to 4 years, practice happy, sad, or upset faces. From the age of 5, teaching involves fewer complications.

According to the Mexican Association of Alternatives in Psychology, emotions could become different feelings and the intensity depends on who experiences them. Children’s books are a great support in the expression, although there are also other methods.

1. Label the emotion or feeling

For a child to be clear about what is happening to him, he gives a name to what he feels. This helps her expand her vocabulary, communicate what she perceives, and develop emotional intelligence. Identify each feeling with a word, for example: “Are you angry because you want a candy and I don’t give it to you?».

He will associate his reaction of the moment with the words you say. In a future opportunity, he will know that this emotion is anger. He does it with each one so that he knows them by name and over time knows how to dominate them.

2. Play guessing games

In very young children, games benefit emotional disclosure. By turns, make facial expressions and guess what emotion it is. Try in front of a mirror so that the little one links his face with the feeling.

There are filters or applications on smartphones designed to learn through games about emotions.

3. Practice coping strategies

Coping techniques are essential when children know their emotions but don’t know how to express them. Here are some:

  • not reproach, but guide.
  • open spaces, since they are conducive to the flow of emotions.
  • play games, with those who express difficult emotions.
  • Use drawing and writing as a tactic to bring out feelings.
  • convey confidence, It offers a safe environment.

4. Encourage him to talk about his feelings

Give way to conversations, not interrogations or pressure. Replace phrases like “do not Cry”for others like “I see you sad, tell me what happened”. In this way, you generate a space for the expression of emotions.

5. Emphasize that all emotion is valid

It is essential that the child knows that all emotions are valid and that there are different ways to express them. When they are negative feelings, explain that the proper way to externalize them is to be assertive, but not hostile. It also marks the inequality between defending oneself and intentionally hurting others.

Children learn by example. Therefore, you must remain calm in any situation.

6. Praise self-control

Praise is a positive reinforcement to control emotions. Praise the child whenever he manages the reactions, this It favors the perception that the little one has about himself. In addition, he values ​​adult recognition.

7. Punishment should be the last option

Punishment and shame as disciplinary methods are not suitable for teaching children to express their emotions. On the contrary, they assume that bad emotions are responsible for bad behaviors and consequently repress their feelings.

If things get tough, it is better to hug than to punish. Look for both you and your little one to process and handle the conflict in a positive way. If a boy accumulates her emotions, he could overflow them in a crisis picture.

8. Accept reactions

pay attention and Understanding a child is healthy for tolerating emotional stress. Outbursts in early childhood are common, but not a premeditated act to complicate the life of the parents.

Take it easy. Determines the signals that warn impulsive behaviors, intervene by encouraging him to externalize his feelings and show that, in addition to caring, you understand him.

9. Help him bounce back when he’s overwhelmed

A child needs to know that he has his parents. In overwhelming situations, hugging, sheltering or singing calms him down. Beyond pampering him, it is an empathetic way of reminding him that you are there for him.

Benefits of teaching children to express their emotions

Expressing emotions prevents anxiety, withdrawal and insecurities. Sometimes, these sensations tend to somatize into physical discomfort. Therefore, it is important that the child exposes what he experiences. Also, if the son brings out the feelings from her, the parents will use the necessary tools to help him.

Other benefits are do not fall into frustration or opt for aggressiveness under certain scenarios. These behaviors tend to harm those around the children.

More relevant still, knowing the meaning of emotions it is useful to act correctly in all aspects of life, for example: recognizing danger and protecting oneself, knowing oneself happy and looking for similar situations, specifying sadness and dealing with it.

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