Toddlers and preschoolers can face some pretty drastic emotions, sometimes losing control at the drop of a hat. Learning how to manage these emotions is just that: something they have to learn. Teachers and parents can help children through this process with understanding and calm, so that the focus can stay on learning, rather than handling the next meltdown.
- Remain calm. When your child is having a tantrum, it can be hard to stay calm, but this is one of the most important factors in helping your child learn how to manage their own emotions.
- Take time out or time in. “Time out” is not something that should be used as a punishment, but rather can be used as a tool to help children learn to calm down as well as to understand and control their emotions. Using “time in” is another alternative to allow children to take a break from a meltdown, while making sure that they have the support of a parent or teacher. If a child is getting too angry, sad, or upset, take them to another room and sit with them. When you see your child feeling very upset sit with while they calm down which will give them the space to vent their feelings.
- Make a “feelings” board or basket. Sometimes children find it difficult to actually understand how they are feeling, which can make it hard for them to express their emotions and find a solution. Print out some pictures of children with different facial expressions, including happy, sad, angry, jealous, surprised, worried and talk to your child about these pictures and what the accompanying feelings are. Let them choose the face that represents how they are feeling.
- Name the feelings. When your children get upset, it can help to explain to them how they are feeling. Use naming that say you can see your child is angry helps children to feel validated and understand their feelings, which can help them find a resolution.
- Breathing techniques. Some cute but helpful breathing techniques you can use include the “hot chocolate” and “blow up a balloon” approaches. Tell your child that you’re going to pretend to drink a hot chocolate, but first you need to blow on it to cool it down. Pretend to hold a cup in your hands and blow on it as if it’s hot. Encourage your child to help you. In the process of trying to blow the hot chocolate to cool it down, they will take deep breaths to help them control their emotional state. The same with blowing up a balloon.
At Falcon British Nursery, the teachers are trained to help your children begin to understand and manage their emotions. They are equipped with lots of good techniques that help to calm things down when your children are experiencing big emotions that they might not know how to manage yet.