Helping Our Children Deal with Big Feelings and Emotions: 4 Tips or Practices We Can All Benefit From

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Dealing with big feelings and emotions regardless of age is something we are tackle as we grow up. It takes practice and patience to learn how to handle big feelings and emotions. Fear is one of those emotions we all aim to keep at arm’s length. As grown-ups, we can struggle to manage our own fears, and in terms of our children, this can be greatly magnified. When our children feel scared, they want to be in our arms because it provides them security and reassurance. Children can be scared of many things; new places, the dark, or school, we have to teach our children tactics to ensure that they are resilient and learn techniques to cope . Here are some practices that may help your child deal with big feelings and emotions and possibly even yourself. 

Make a Plan

The best thing we can do is to be proactive and have a plan in place for those situations that can cause fear. In order to do this properly, we’ve got to look at scenarios that can cause dear in our children or even adults too.

If, for example, your child is scared of the dark and they don’t want to sleep alone at night, a night light may be a good plan to have as a source of comfort for them and eventually, they can sleep without the night light.

You may be fearful of something like a car accident because your newly licensed teen is out there driving with other drivers they may be distracted by their phones, something that personal injury lawyers constantly warn against, having a plan of action will help you and your teenaged driver have some control in the situation. Teaching your teen to call 911, call home, remain in a safe spot until help arrives gives you the self-confidence to navigate any predicament. It’s all about the planning. 

Encourage Conversation

It’s important that we encourage our children to talk about their big feelings and emotions. If we put our feelings and concerns into words, we can make the process more manageable. Things become fears because they get blown out of proportion. If, for example, your child went out into the middle of the road by themselves and they had a near miss, you could have been so frustrated with them because they weren’t listening, you did not immediately calm them down, but got them more anxious, and your anger is now embroiled in the anxiety, making an emotional pressure cooker.  It’s important that we talk about the practical safety issues such as the importance of looking both ways before crossing the street and talk about our feelings.

Sharing feelings and concerns as a family is so important. Try encouraging the entire unit to talk about their feelings. When you start to talk about your feelings as a family, it makes things more natural, so your children will feel it’s ok to open up and discuss their feelings and concerns. 

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Big feelings and emotions such as fear is not just about what goes on in the mind but their are physiological responses too. When we use concerted efforts to reduce both pieces of the puzzle, your child will regain self-control over their mind and body. The trick is not just to do these when something stressful occurs, but to make it a daily practice. It needs to be an automatic response, which is where helping your child practice some of the following can make a big difference. 

  • Visualization. Your child can visualize something that helps them not feel so scared, for example, picturing themselves being brave with something they are fearful of, which helps to inoculate that sensation. 
  • Box breathing techniques. There are a number of breathing techniques, but box breathing is one of those that require you to focus. Breathing in for 4, holding for 4, exhaling for 4, and being without air in the lungs for 4 seconds is a technique Navy Seals use
  • Use relaxing music. You can play relaxing music while doing box breathing or visualization, and this can help to put your child into a sensory state of relaxation which they can go back to wherever they are. 

Be There for Them

Finally, when your child is scared, sometimes, all they need is some reassurance. Sometimes, if our child is scared, all they need is holding them and giving them comfort, which will help them feel more secure. It doesn’t matter what age they are, but if they are scared of something, sometimes that simple act of support can be what they need to feel less fearful, and this very simple rule can help you all to be a healthy and happy family.

Dealing with big feelings and emotions is a gradual learning process and I hope you’ve found some of these tips and practices helpful.


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