How to Talk to Your Kids About Emotions

As parents, we are more than aware that children can experience the full range of emotions throughout the span of one day. It is not uncommon for littles to go from happy ball of energy one minute to sobbing and exhausted the next.

But is the subject of emotions even worth tackling when you have tantrum-prone Minis in tow? It’s true many parents tend to avoid the topic as they don’t know how to bring it up or it’s simply forgotten in the midst of extremely busy schedules, so Mini has enlisted the help of emotional intelligence expert and Peppy Pals founder Rosie Linder to shed some light.

Make it comfortable and fun. It’s not easy to get your toddler to sit down and even harder to talk about feelings and empathy. Try to make it engaging and playful, for instance, playing a game outside, using different tools like apps or using crayons to draw out feelings. This way, it’s easier to explore your child’s innermost thoughts.

Start by discussing how to express different emotions— happiness, anger, greed, fear. Draw the feelings together on paper.

Make sure not to judge. All emotions are allowed when you’re discussing different scenarios or issues your children have experienced. For example, they might have gotten into a fight over a toy and accidentally hit one another. Now this behavior is obviously not acceptable, but it’s OK to be angry. It’s a matter of how we can control and express our feelings.

There is no right or wrong. We can make different choices depending on our mood or how we feel. Neither is wrong, but it’s important to show the consequences of one’s choices.

Confirm your child’s emotions. Great to keep in mind in any situation. For instance, when your child is angry, sad or afraid, it helps to say, “I can see that you are angry and that’s OK. But it’s not OK to throw toys at your sister or brother.”

Not only does talking to kids about their emotions allow them to have a better understanding of how they feel at different times, but it also helps them to better manage their actions and responses. Emotional intelligence has also proven to reduce bullying, prompt happier lives, improve test scores and create greater success later in life through careers and personal situations.

You can learn more about Linder here or stick around and read These French Parenting Rules That Will Teach Your Kids Manners here.

Opening Image: Annie Ainsley and Raya Carlisle