NJCMO Newsletter

Emotions are complex and talking about them can be complicated for anyone, let alone for children who are still navigating many mental, physical, and emotional developments. Articulating feelings and utilizing emotional language is something adults can do to help children practice honing those skills.

Let Them Have Feelings

Create a safe space for your child by giving them the chance to express their feelings and letting them be in that emotion without denying it or invalidating it. Listen, ask questions, express empathy to let them know their feelings are heard. 

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Explaining how to express emotions is important, but demonstrating how to do this through your own actions is a powerful tool. Everything from naming the emotion, to timing, to the setting factor into navigating a meaningful conversation about your emotions. Modeling this behavior is a great way for your children to learn and to reinforce what a positive relationship with emotions can look like. 

Provide Comfort and Understanding

Emotions can be hard and even scary. Let your child know that this is a safe space for them to express themselves and what they are going through. Sharing instances where you have felt the same emotion or how you felt in a similar position can make it relatable and potentially easier for them to talk about. 

Encourage the Conversation

Consider starting the conversation or asking questions that incorporate emotions to help a child open up and give them chances to practice using emotional language. Thinking about the best time to start this conversation is another aspect to keep in mind. Sometimes, the heat of the moment may not yield the healthy dialogue you’re hoping to enable.

Characters Have Emotions, Too

You can use TV shows, movies or books to your advantage by naming what emotions those characters are facing or even using it as a conversation starter with your child to discuss emotions. This may present a more accessible way for children to understand emotions or discuss them.

If your child is struggling with any mental health concerns, contact a healthcare professional.

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