We all have emotions

Emotions are normal but sometimes we need to help a young child identify them so he can talk about them. By the time they enter kindergarten, most children understand about sad, mad and happy.


But other emotions like confused, irritated, scared, worried, upset and overwhelmed still may be difficult for them to understand.


When children don’t have words for emotions, they frequently act them out. This can create major problems for a child and confusion for both you and his teacher. Help him learn the words for emotions. Read and talk about being upset, lonely, excited and scared.


When you see him experiencing these emotions, give them words. Say “I can see you are very upset” or “Your happy face tells me you are excited about your new puppy.”


No matter how upsetting a particular situation may be to your child, if he feels he is being heard, he will tend to calm down.


On the other hand, if he feels that no one is acknowledging what he is feeling, his frustration may become hard for him to control. This is true no matter what his age.


Listening and labeling the feelings he has help him learn what these emotions mean. Research shows that a child who doesn’t know or understand or cannot express his emotions may misbehave, feel isolated or become frustrated. Help your child with this important lesson in life.


Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and now director of Parenting Matters Foundation. The foundation publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers, and grandparents. Reach Martin at or at 681-2250.



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