4) Label OUR own feelings and spend time showing sad, upset, angry, hurt, and so on.
We really make time for this. After voicing out how we feel, we act it out every single time.
And with ACT, we mean:
We show the emotion. (facial expression)
We stop and abandon what we were previously doing. (body language)
We match our tone with how we feel when speaking. (tone of voice)
To demonstrate, when she throws tantrums and ends up hitting me (even if it was just a light thump), I stop whatever I’m doing and act hurt.
Again, this is quite difficult to do especially on busy days. However, no one else can teach this but us. I don’t wish to ever reach the point that I’d be tempted to spank, so though this requires time and effort, I am going this route. 🙂
I continue to act hurt and wait until she notices (additional 2-3 minutes of waiting; it takes a while sometimes). When she has finally noticed, I stay unhappy until she does something to make me feel better (probably another 2-3 minutes depending on your child).
Effort? It pays though. I think it could really help our children understand emotions and be more emphatic, sympathetic, and less likely to hurt other kids.
5) Fairytale and cartoon characters are relatable models.
Point out emotions when you’re watching videos or reading a book. Have them guess what the characters are feeling too.
Do you think Anna felt sad when Elsa didn’t come out of her room anymore?
I think Cinderella was so delighted when the fairy Godmother appeared!
Did Brewster look scared of the thunder?
The 7 dwarfs felt surprised when they arrived to a clean cottage!
I think Elmo was too playful on today’s episode.
6) Bring up past, real-life events.
When we remind them of situations they were in, there’s a good chance they’ll recall the feeling as well.
Remember when we went boating at Burnham, you were afraid that another boat would bump and tip us over.
Remember when we got stuck in traffic, you got startled when the car behind us suddenly blew his horn so loudly.
Yesterday, we were running late and I felt so nervous that the plane would leave and fly without us.
You were so brave, you didn’t cry a lot on vaccine day. I’m proud of you!