Working with children's emotions
Many adults find it difficult to identify emotions and, more than that, to manage them. It is very rewarding to understand them and work on them in order to have an emotionally healthy and happy life. Knowing how to embrace your emotions - if you were not taught to do so as a child - will be much more difficult as an adult. Understanding what we feel is extremely important to be able to manage it and not fall into exaggeration.
Luckily, there are plenty of games and activities that can help us in our daily routine.
Try to get your children to label the emotions they feel to help them understand them. Did that school trip they were so excited about get cancelled? How do they feel now? Frustrated, sad, disappointed? What can we do to make them feel better?
Explain emotions in storytelling: while reading stories to your children you can try to get them to pretend how the characters in the story feel. Why do you think they feel this way? Can you make a face that shows this feeling?
Sharing the day: during dinner ask each other in which situation of the day we felt happy, angry, disappointed, glad.... It is a daily routine that makes us share moments and understand each other. It is also interesting to share the moments when we have felt the same to understand that feeling sad or disappointed happens to all of us.
Collect beautiful moments. In a glass jar, fill it with the moments we have felt happy and once a year (for example as an end of the year ritual) open it and read the moments we have felt so good. In this way we are aware that emotions come and go and that the important thing is how we live them.
We should be the first to share our emotions. It doesn't matter if they see that as adults we are not always fine. Let them know that emotions can be felt, shared and tried to be worked on. They should know that emotions are linked to how we see reality at that moment and how we react to specific events. That it is not always anyone's fault, but rather how we have reacted and how it has affected us. And that nothing is wrong.
There are no positive and negative emotions. We have to be able to be sad and angry, and it doesn't have to be labelled as a bad emotion. We must accept that we feel this way and know that this emotion will also pass, that it is only momentary. What can we do to feel better because feeling this way hurts us?
Understand the other person. Many times, people get angry because of the way we react to an event, a sentence or an action of another person. An interesting activity would be to try to empathise with the other person in order to understand them. Try to look at it from another perspective and realise that it is not a personal attack. Let's not judge anyone, least of all ourselves.
Relaxation and Mindfulness. Often, if our child is suffering an emotional crisis, parents can suffer an even stronger one and the situation will worsen dramatically. When our child is feeling an overflowing emotion at levels of anger or frustration it is important to meet with them and try to get them to take deep breaths. Relax, breathe in, breathe out and let the emotion go. Together. Soul Mates Mindfulness stories can help us in this joint task.