Toddlers are quite the conundrum. On one hand, they are little sponges who absorb every bit of information around them but, on the other hand, it is nearly impossible to get them to sit still enough to teach them the things that you want them to learn. Let’s face it: sometimes it’s hard for adults to understand our feelings. Now, imagining trying to teach a toddler about how they feel and how to express those feelings appropriately. It’s definitely daunting. Although it’s not always easy, it’s a very important life skill and there are a number of ways to do it.
Teach Them Feeling Words
Sometimes a toddler’s frustration about not being able to express how they feel simply stems from not knowing the right words to use. A good place to start is to arm them with the tools they need to express their feelings through words. Once they can properly label their feelings, they can better explain them to you.
Be A Role Model
Remember that kids pick up on verbal and non-verbal cues. Make sure to express your feelings through words to a toddler. It will both help them learn how to express their own feelings and get a better understanding of the situation. For example, you can say “I’m sad that Grandma’s gone,” or “It makes me happy that you dressed yourself.” They also see how to handle those feelings, so be careful how you react, especially in anger, when your little ones are around.
There are few better ways to deal with toddler emotions in real time than by playing games. There are so many emotions that can be felt while playing — happiness, anger, frustration and even anticipation. Almost every human feeling can come out when playing even the simplest of games. Playing together is a great way to bond with your child while teaching him the importance of expressing his emotions appropriately. You can also sneak in a few lessons about other important issues, such as fair play and sportsmanship.
Watch Kid Friendly Shows About Emotions
There are many programs that teach kids about emotions but, one of my favourite out there is Barney. It’s no secret that kids love watching TV. Both sides win when the kids can be entertained for half an hour and learn valuable lessons about toddler emotions.
Tell Stories About Emotions
Some families don’t watch TV and that’s perfectly fine. There are plenty of books about emotions out there to enjoy as well. Reading books together is a wonderful option because you can stop and talk about what you read and you get some quality time with your little one. Another route you can take is to make up your own stories. Whether you write them down or come up with them on the spot, this is an excellent way to engage your child(ren). It also helps instill the value and teaching them the lessons you want them to learn.
Do An Emotions Check-In
Every once in a while, do a feelings check-in by simply asking your child what they are thinking about and how it makes them feel. Sometimes the answers may surprise you. Sometimes you may catch them off-guard or even surprise themselves. From their response, you can build a conversation about feelings.
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