3) Notice, label, and validate THEIR feelings.
Remember my post on how labeling everything helps babies talk early? Looks like we’re going to label feelings too!
You feel bad because I didn’t let you eat the M&Ms that fell on the mud.
You’re mad because your playmate took the toy that you took from her.
I can see you’re upset that I ate all your chocolates.
You’re angry because Daddy won’t let you drive.
You feel frustrated because you can’t get your shoe on.
You look tired from playing all morning. Let’s nap.
You look like you already need a rest. Our baby is feeling sleepy. Bedtime!
By saying lines like these, we are not only showing empathy, we are also helping them build their emotional vocabulary. This is also a good chance to let them know that experiencing different emotions, even the negative ones, is totally normal. Remember we don’t correct feelings, we only correct wrong behavior.
For positive feelings, you can try:
Hey, you look so excited for ice cream day!
I missed you when you went to school this morning. We were not together and I kept thinking about you.
I’m so glad you’re back home. We’re together again!
Do you feel proud that you can now button your shirt?
Do you like mango or strawberry? I think you’re confused on which flavor to have because they both look yummy!
Jumping Mia is so happy to see lots of gifts under the tree!