We’ve made it to Part 3- How to Process Big Feelings! This is definitely the hardest part for all young children. Emotions are tricky in that they cloud your thinking and judgment.
For this, I am going to refer back to my CCCs- Clear, Consistent, and Calm. You need to use simple directions, consistent instructions/expectations, and remain calm. Your child needs an example of being calm, and getting into a yelling match with your child does not help anyone.
When your child is in the midst of a BIG feeling, you need to give them options for calming down. Giving them a choice between two good choices is much better than letting the emotions bubble over when forced to do something.
I would teach my students that they have three options- all involving the number 5. They could take 5 breaths, count to 5, or take a 5-minute break. We would practice all of these options, usually after we had talked about an emotional situation.
Typically each student would have one that they chose more often than the others. That’s okay- remember, the point is that they MADE the choice.
Repeat the calm-down technique until your child has regained control of their emotions.
Validate their feelings, but emphasize that it is time to feel happy and fix the problem (if necessary).
Whew! We did it! I hope this gives you some ideas for increasing your child’s emotional awareness and processing skills. Remember- the key to success is to be clear, consistent, and calm.
I really want this to be a community, so please share your experiences with emotional awareness/processing. And if you have any questions, please comment below!