Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Teach your kids to express healthy emotions this holiday season

(ARA) – The holidays are a busy time for everyone, adults and kids alike. Between the hectic schedule, the excitement and days off from school and work, emotions both good and bad can run high.

Because of this, the holidays are a great time to help teach your children to manage both positive and negative moods in an emotionally intelligent manner. Here are some ideas for ways to get your kids to express what they are feeling in a healthy way this holiday season:

1. Talk it out
The holidays can stress children out much more than many parents realize. The first thing that every parent should try is talking to their children about what they are feeling, especially when they are dealing with negative feelings. Try to figure out the origin of the emotion. It helps to encourage them to use the word "I" when they explain their feelings. For example, "I feel sad when" or "I feel excited because."

2. Utilize visuals
If verbalizing emotions isn't an easy thing for your child to do, start by sitting down and coloring pictures together. Some children will open up instantly when they have a creative outlet for expression. Ask your child to explain their drawing. Don't let them do all the work, parents should draw and explain the feelings involved in their picture as well. This exercise just might be the perfect ice-breaker.

3. Put emotionally intelligent toys under the tree
With a little research, parents can find toys for their kids that help them learn and express their emotions. One great example is the Super Special Friend Kai-lan doll. Based on the character Kai-lan from Nickelodeon’s hit animated preschool series, Ni Hao, Kai-lan, this interactive doll invites the child to hold Kai-lan’s hand as her heart will light up in one of six different colors, each corresponding to a different emotion. The doll also moves her head, eyes and arms in response to how she’s feeling, and asks girls and boys to interact with her. When she’s sad, she asks for a hug; when she’s happy she sings the “Friends Make Me Super Happy” song from the show; and when she’s feeling giggly, she makes a silly face. This toy is an easy way to help your child learn about their emotions and how to express them.

4. Lead by example
Your child is in constant observation of your behavior. So when you're feeling happy or sad, talk about it with your child. After a tough day at work, have a short conversation over dinner about how you are tired because work today was hard and how you hope tomorrow is better. If you're excited for an upcoming event, let your child know what you think about the event and why you are looking forward to it. Talking about life and demonstrating how to properly handle both positive and negative emotions are good ways to lead by example.

Try one or more of these ideas to help your child learn about emotions and feelings, especially during the busy holiday season. If one doesn't work, don't be afraid to try another one. With time and patience, every child can learn about feelings and how to properly manage their moods.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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