Motherly Life Notes

We highly recommend this article published by TEDEd. It reminds me of when our kids were in daycare. The teachers often chanted “You get what you get and you don’t get upset!” Every time I heard that, it made me cringe. I never understood the benefit of telling young children not to get upset. It’s an impossible ask and the kids are left alone with their feelings without any support or compassion. Rather than tell our children to dismiss their feelings, I reminded them that it’s okay to be upset because it gives us an opportunity to figure out how to deal with it.

Allow Children to Embrace Their Emotions

Kids react when something goes wrong in their day. And rightly so. Of course, their reactions may appear over dramatic and unnecessary. But, let’s remember that those feelings of frustration, anger and helplessness are new to young children. Adults often try to solve the issue quickly because it’s so unpleasant to hear children scream, pout, or cry. But rather than ignore the emotions and try for a quick fix to rebuild a fallen Lego set, or separate quarreling siblings, parents ought to ask how the child feels, listen, and offer patience, compassion, and comfort.

Three Ways Kids Learn to Deal with Emotions

  • Repression. Children may be taught that it’s not safe to express their feelings. The effect is that feelings remain with the child. As adults, the individual may be unable to deal with many of life’s challenges.
  • Aggression. Home environments that don’t allow children to have a voice and share how they feel also force children to bottle up their emotions. The result is older teens and adults with tendencies to be self-critical or to bully others.
  • Expression. Kids who are encouraged to accept their feelings are more apt to learn how to manage their emotions. They engage in activities and develop ways – such as seeking help from friends, practicing yoga, or meditating – to stay calm and recover from tough experiences.

Additional Learning

The original article was written by Lael Stone, an author, speaker and consultant. She publishes The Aware Parenting Podcast.



Recommended Games to Help Kids Build Emotional Intelligence

Review our list of fun, interactive games that help children develop social and emotional management skills.

Games for kid to develop emotional intelligence

Workbooks to Help Kids Understand and Develop Social Skills

I Am Stronger Than Anxiety

Children’s Book About Overcoming Worries, Stress and Fear

  • A story line presented in rhythmic prose with colorful illustrations
  • Includes tips and techniques to help children recognize and manage their anxiety
  • Teaches children to recognize their feelings and understand there are ways to manage how they react
  • Appropriate for preschoolers and young elementary age students
Buy A Copy

Social Skills
Activities for Kids

50 Fun Exercises for Making Friends, Talking and Listening, and Understanding Social Rules

  • Help kids learn how to handle common real-life situations and gain self-awareness and self-confidence
  • Interactive games, fill-in-the-blank exercises, and other activities
  • Kids develop an understanding of what they’re feeling and tactics to manage their emotions
Buy A Copy

Anger Management Workbook for Kids

50 Fun Activities to Help Children Stay Calm and Make Better Choices When They Feel Mad

  • A health and wellness workbook
  • Kids learn about anger and how to recognize when they feel mad
  • Activities include doodling, meditation, and crafts
  • Various activities to develop good habits and techniques to manage feelings of anger
Buy A Copy