Children are not always able to regulate their own emotions. Truthfully, it can be difficult for us adults to regulate our emotions at times as well. When your child becomes upset, your priority should be to soothe them. However, you should also try and teach them how to cope with their emotions.
Knowing what to do in stressful situations can be tough. To help you, here are 5 ways to soothe an upset child, and how to teach them to soothe themselves in future.
Get To Their Level
There is no point in trying to calm, soothe, or talk to an upset child if you do not get down to their level. They will be more receptive to your gestures and example if you kneel down and look them in the eyes.
Not only should you get on their level physically, but also do not talk to them how you would talk to another adult. Use short sentences and simple words, and talk in a way that they would understand best, especially in their emotional state.
Name Their Feelings
Never tell your child to stop being upset and to just move on. You first need to address why they are upset and let them know that their feelings are validated.
Ask your child to explain how they are feeling. If they are too young, you could point out how they might be feeling, by saying something along the lines of “you look frustrated”. By naming these emotions, you are teaching your child to recognize how they feel.
Being able to recognize and label emotions is key to dealing with your feelings later on in life.
Validate Their Emotions
Knowing what they are feeling is a step in the right direction. Next, you need to let them know that their feelings are validated.
It is so important to acknowledge their emotions, and let them know that they are entitled to feel that way. This goes a long way in helping develop strong self-esteem throughout life.
If they are feeling angry, say something along the lines of “I know you are feeling angry, and I know how horrible it can feel to be angry, but it is fine to feel this way”.
For younger children who cannot describe or understand this, by simply holding them and calming them, you are validating how they feel.
Be A Good Listener
It can be so difficult to be a good listener! Especially when you have so much to do and your little one won’t stop crying, for something that might seem insignificant to you. It is in these moments that it is more important than ever to be a good listener.
Sit down and listen to your child – why are they upset, what upset them? Create an environment where they feel like they can approach you with anything. This opens up valuable lines of communication that you will definitely need throughout your parenting journey.
Stand Your Ground
No matter how upset your child is, you need to remember that you are the parent. Do your best to validate their feelings and to listen to them, but do not let their emotions rule you.
Setting this boundary is important for them to have stability in a world that is often difficult to work through.