Have a little one big on emotions? If you do, it’s about time you wiped the sweat off your brow and the exhaustion off your face. Settle down, lay back and take a five-minute break as we fill you in on how to save big on tears and tantrums.
Here we go.
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Talk It Through
By teaching your child the key to good communication, you can promote emotional development and teach social cues and responses. Link behaviours to words and expressions to demonstrate a holistic gamut of languages and emotions. Also, encourage your child to talk about their feelings and to be open to giving and receiving communication when there is something that needs to be expressed.
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Take Deep Breaths
Feelings can sometimes be too big to handle for your little rugrat. A moment or two of calm can help your child process feelings more effectively. Deep breaths or slow counting to a magic number can give your child much-needed time to cool down and regain control of their emotions. Over time, you can teach your little one to be proactive in recognising warning signs – a racing heart, a hothead or a will to lash out – and take action beforehand. Teach your child to go into self-imposed retreat mode on recognising an untoward emotion.
Build a Coping Mechanism
Identify activities that serve as therapeutic interventions for your child. This may be different for every child; what calms one may not necessarily help with another, so it is important to do some groundwork to discover what helps yours. Consider turning to soft music, sketching, colouring, gardening, or an outdoor sport like basketball or football.
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Capture Emotions Through Stories
Once your child has calmed down, plan a fun story writing activity together. Take note of the triggers that caused the meltdown and gently ask your child about why that set them off. Write your story in the third person, making a lesson of a tried and true coping strategy. And finally, give it a happy ending. Use it as an example every day, possibly as a nighttime story, to reinforce the outcome and condition your child to adopt a coping mechanism for similar outcomes in the future.
Use Verbal Control Mechanisms
Verbal feedback is the easiest and most emphatic way you can make your displeasure be known to your child. However, wait to make sure that your child has calmed down before you begin giving your views. This way, your child will learn to accept feedback and engage in a rational discussion rather than deflecting your opinion right off the bat.
Anger, sadness and frustration can be tricky little emotions for your child to navigate. At an early stage, the right type of coaching can help you guide your little one with managing and responding to emotions appropriately. Not only can early emotional sensitisation help your child with social interactions, enhanced attention skills and reduced impulsiveness, it can also save you from dealing with embarrassing meltdowns at the supermarket and non-stop rants at the dinner table. Most of all, it can be the blessing you never knew you needed.
Consistency is the key to parenting as is setting boundaries. While handling toddlers with temper tantrums, withdrawing attention and ignoring the undesirable behaviour and rewarding the child with more attention for desirable behaviour helps.
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