Children have the same emotions and feelings that we do, such as happiness, anger, frustration, embarrassment and sadness. However, they often don’t have the language to be able to talk about these feelings and understand them. This can sometimes result in children acting out as a response to these feelings, or a way to express them. By talking to your child about what they are feeling, linking the feeling to the cause, and practicing appropriate responses, children can begin to understand emotions.
- Name the emotion for the child (E.g. “Daddy has gone away on a trip. You are sad because you can’t see him now”)
- Help the child to identify feelings in other people, including yourself (E.g. “I am happy that you cleaned up all your toys! I have a big smile on my face!”)
- Teach and model for your child the appropriate ways to respond to feelings (i.e. encourage them to talk about why they are upset, instead of throwing a temper tantrum).
- Read books and pay attention to the feelings that the characters’ experience (E.g. “Look at Goldilocks’s face- she feels scared because she saw the three bears!”)
- Give your child positive praise when they react appropriately to their emotions, and when they try to talk to you about it. (E.g. “Well done for not shouting when you were excited! I liked the way you used a calm voice!)”
Speech Pathology Team