As adults, we often expect children to regulate their emotions easily. If a child becomes really upset, adults may say, “You’re fine” or “You’re okay.” However, I really encourage you to validate children’s feelings. If they are sad, you can say, “Your face is telling me you are sad. What made you sad?” The child may shrug, the child may be able to tell you using words, and they may not really know what caused them to feel that way. If they tell you what made them feel a particular emotion, you could say, “It makes me feel sad when my toy is taken
from me too. Let’s think about what we could do.” From there, help the child problem solve what they could do to change their feelings. In a single day, children may experience a wide array of feelings (happiness, disappointment, frustration, anger, sadness, excitement). Even as an adult, there are days, I experience a wide range of emotions. Children have to know it’s okay to feel an array of emotions. By simply validating their feelings, providing comfort, and listening, you are changing their social-emotional development.
~Marena Mitchell, Speech-Language Pathologist
Daily tips, activities, and suggestions on how to naturally embed speech, language, play, fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive skills into your child's day, often using the materials already found in your home environment.
Marena Mitchell is a speech-language pathologist