You can learn emotional skills at any age
A small child’s day is an emotional roller-coaster. Feelings flare and emotions erupt so strongly that it can confuse both child and adult. From the first seconds of their lives babies express their emotions through simple responses like crying and smiling, but before long, parents are faced with a spontaneous, over-excited, shy, bogey-man fearing toddler with a very short fuse. Emotions are always with us and they guide everything we do. Learning emotional skills should be an everyday exercise for all of us.
A child learns emotional intelligence by observing and mimicking those around them. They must not be left alone with their feelings – an adult’s job is to support the child by naming emotions, explaining how they might make a child feel, where they come from and how to live with them. Why do you feel anger throughout your whole body? How can you stop feeling sad and start feeling better?
When you talk about emotions, the child starts to be able to identify their feelings and learns the vocabulary to describe them. Emotions become understandable and therefore easier to control. If you can express your feelings with words, you can help others understand without needing to get physical. In time, the child learns to see how their actions affect others and how to take other people’s feelings into account. These are invaluable skills for all social encounters throughout life!
Stories teach emotional skills
Stories are a great way to help a child’s emotions to surface, and are a safe way to explore feelings. Through the Roundies characters, the child is encouraged to empathise and starts to recognise their own feelings. The safety of stories is essential when dealing with difficult emotions. While reading together you could discuss the following points:
- How are the characters feeling? Why?
- How do emotions affect how the characters behave?
- How could the characters deal with conflict?
- How can the characters solve problems and settle their differences?
- How does reading this story make you feel?
Emotional skills build children’s and adult’s well-being
In a family with children, emotions abound. Grown-ups should also develop their emotional skills, and for an adult, working on their emotions means recognising and controlling feelings within themselves as well as their children. It means also focusing on positive and effective solutions. Recognising and accepting their own emotions helps the parent to understand their child.
It is important for the parent to set an example on how to channel their emotions in acceptable and safe ways. It is essential that the child understands that all feelings are allowed. Negative feelings are not something to be afraid of not should they be avoided. Instead, all feelings can be expressed in a constructive way. Emotions boil over, but they too shall pass, and they can always be talked about together. The child must be able to trust that they are always accepted and loved – on bad days as well as good ones.
Emotional skills and the ability to control your feelings are the most important skills in life. According to multiple studies, the ability to control emotions leads to a more balanced life, better self esteem and overall well-being.