Recognise emotions

Do you know how your child is feeling? Some children are an ‘open book’. Others have more trouble showing how they feel. Yet young children experience a lot of emotions. They can get really upset about something very small. And that can make them very sad, scared or angry. As a parent, it can be difficult to understand this and deal with it the right way. The following tips can help.

Tip 1: Show your child that you see and understand their feelings. You could say, “I can see you’re sad because your tower fell” or “I understand you’re angry because your tower fell”.

Tip 2: Explain to your child when their behaviour is unacceptable. Is your child angry and throwing blocks around? Then you could say, “I understand you’re angry, but you can’t throw blocks. You could break things or hurt someone”.

Tip 3: Stay calm and give your child the time to assess their own emotions. Listen to them and then try to move on positively. Has your child calmed down? Then you could say, “Now let’s build a new tower together”.

Tip 4: Try to imitate how your child is sitting or standing. Is your child slouching a little? Then do the same. Your child will feel more understood than when you are standing up straight.

Did you know

that you often unconsciously imitate people you like?

You start sitting, standing or moving the same way they do. It’s an automatic response that shows you agree with them.

Do you want someone to like you? Then imitate their posture and movements. Chances are this person will start liking you more.

 Kees, father of Tom and Bram (2.5-year-old twins):

Yesterday it happened again. Tom and Bram were playing with blocks together. At one point, they ran out of blocks. Tom pushed over Bram’s tower and then used his brother’s blocks to continue building. Bram started crying. I was quite angry! But then I realised that maybe Tom didn’t understand why I was angry. So I tried to remain calm. I put Bram on my lap to soothe him. And I explained to Tom why I was not happy about him taking his brother’s blocks.

I asked him, “Imagine you had built a beautiful tower. How would you feel if your brother pushed it over?” Let’s all build a new tower together, the three of us.” Problem solved. And faster than a while ago, when I would get really angry.