Enabling kids to manage emotions effectively
Don’t you wish to be a child once again? As I see kids around me, I take a peek back into my childhood days. Ah, I so much wish to be a child again. No responsibilities, no tasks, no worries. Wait. Did we read no worries? But that’s what we would think. Look at kids growing in this century and you’ll see that kids have their own set of anxieties and stress too. They aren’t worry free at all. Their worries revolve around school, self-image, relations (with friends), bullying, and much more.
Even our lives are full of stress and many times, I see myself passing that stress to my child unknowingly. Quite an injustice! We need to come to terms with ourselves first, only then can we help our kids become mentally and emotionally strong, ready to face life head-on! There are a few ways to achieve this.
1. Resilience :
It’s the inner mental strength that helps kids confront challenges of early life. The fortitude to bounce back from setbacks, to keep going while facing all odds and to reach their highest potential needs to set in. To make them resilient, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Create challenging situations: It helps kids learn the way to deal with something “tough”. As a parent, create situations, let your children earn 10% of their pocket money on their own. Try making your kid raise funds for some charity from your neighbours. It could make them emotional or defiant. But when they surpass the challenge, they’ll be confident and headstrong.
- It’s okay to ask for help: Sometimes overconfidence engulfs kids and when they fail, they shatter. They find they are not the superheroes they see on screen who save everyone. Thus, they need to know when to ask for help and that doing so is absolutely okay.
- Shower them with loads of encouragement: Praising is important but not on every task done by kids. It is better to encourage them for their efforts to help them keep going.
- Experience failure: If your child falls on the playground, keep an eye, but don’t rush to lift and pamper. Your child will get up and start playing again. Set them lose, they are “learning” and carving their life, basis their mistakes and experiences. We need to help them face their fears and cheer them for every step they take to overcome it.
- Say no to perfectionism: I’ve seen mommy’s around me, putting in efforts on their child’s behalf for competitions and picking up the trophy. Instead, the “effort” your child had put in should matter more. Applaud those small steps.
- Problem solving: It is not at all necessary to poke in your parental nose and solve all their riddles. If kids ask for help, do support them with the approach, instead of giving them the complete solution. Give them a stand to make choices and value their decisions. Their decisions could initially be wrong, allow them to experience and give them a chance to correct.
- Let them be uncomfortable at times: Usually kids start avoiding situations where they feel uncomfortable. We need to push kids out of their comfort zones, praise their efforts and convey that as parents, you care more about their willingness to try rather than what they achieve.
2. Building Self Esteem :
If kids believe in themselves, you can see them accomplish amazing heights. Children with high self–esteem turn out to be competent, loved, happy and productive individuals.
- Give them choices and don’t do everything for them
- Assign them age-appropriate household chores and tasks and praise them when they accomplish.
- Never ever call them names, label them or use sarcasm to make your point.
3. Nutrition :
There are ample studies to prove that nutrition plays a pivotal role in the intellect and behavior of growing kids. Vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids like Omega-3 (DHA) are important in the development of the emotional system and brain. Studies have proved that the lack of the right nutrition has a direct relation to autism, withdrawal symptoms, anxieties, and low stamina in growing kids. Since our internal formation of DHA is quite low, we need to consume it through various foods and supplements.
4. Build a Strong Character :
Instill and reinforce values such as honesty, compassion, love, gratitude, rather than always asking them to win. Encourage them to stick to their morally correct stand even when others disapprove of it. This way they won’t fall prey to all misleading bait in their lives.
- Ask them to say no to bullying and face the one bullying with opinions.
- Ask kids to write down all the things they are grateful for.
- Why not, thank God daily for the blessings he has showered upon, so that even on a bad day, they will have something to be thankful for.
- Give a small encouraging note or a card if your child goes out of the way to show gratitude.
As parents, we need to work on their thoughts and emotions as it is said that thoughts create beliefs and beliefs form attitude!
5. Free Play :
We all know how much kids love their play. But did you ever wonder how much time your child is getting for free play?
I saw my preschooler playing “Animal Shelter Play” with his friends. While few became family members, 2-3 opted to become animals, rather than talking animals. They took to the emotions of an animal, love, and care, which are our responsibilities as humans. These kids were not just passing the message, but they were building up their emotional skills. They were attaining compassion by this play.
Free play experiences help kids understand their emotions and other feelings. As kids work towards no particular goal, their imagination and problem solving abilities build up.
As you engage with your kids more, you’ll realize that emotional development is more of a journey than a destination. You have to consciously put in a bit of an effort every day to gauge where your child stands. Every once in a while, I tend to look back at my parenting experience so far and find moments that were crucial to the development of my child. You can also try these simple ways to help your child become emotionally resilient and strong.
Stay Happy and Emotionally Strong!