The importance of understanding the emotional stability in a child is more important than some might realize. How you teach your children to process their emotions at an early age will forever change the way they behave and interact with others when they reach adulthood. It only takes a few moments to provide the help needed.
One night, my two-year old daughter had a complete meltdown. She was crying and screaming, for what reason, I don’t even remember. Everyone tried to console her, but nothing anyone said or did made a difference in her little heart. I decided to just lay down next to her on the floor and stroke her hair. I asked her, “How are you feeling?” She said, in-between cries, “I’m sad!” I continued to stroke her hair and said, “It’s ok. It’s ok to feel sad.”.You’ll feel better again, later.”Once I told her it was ok for her to be sad, and have those feelings, her demeanor completely changed. She slowed her crying, and I could see her brain processing this thought, “It’s ok to feel sad.”
There is a children’s show that my daughter watches on PBS called, “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” which is a continuation of the beloved “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.” One very important aspect of the show is that they teach children how to process their emotions with catchy songs. “It’s ok to feel sad sometimes, little by little you’ll feel better again,” is the song that I was reminding her of. She began to understand that what she was feeling was ok. It wasn’t pleasant to feel that way, but it was ok. I stayed calm and validated her little feelings, and she was able to understand that her feelings were important to me.
So often, we see children who have a hard time processing and expressing their emotions. There are parents telling their sons not to cry, as if it is a sign of weakness, and daughters are labeled drama queens and are told they just need to get over it. But if they were to take the time to sit down with their child and ask, “What are you feeling right now,” they might be able to get to the root of the problem, and help their children process their feelings and create a healthy and emotionally-stable being.
“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” has helped me teach my daughter, through songs, how to feel better after feeling sad, how to stop being angry or frustrated, and many other things. One of my daughter’s favorite song to sing is, “Grownups come back,” which talks about when parents have to go away for a while, like to work, or when children are being dropped off at school, they can learn to know that their parents will come back for them, because that it what grownups do. Now, any time she feels an emotion, she sings the song that fits what she is feeling, and she is able to process her emotion, continuing to be my sweet little girl.
Article Written by: Rachel Harper
Note: *You can find all the songs that Daniel Tiger and his friends sing on pbskids.org or you can download an app on your smartphone called Daniel Tiger for Parents. This app has all the songs that they sing, and you can use it when there is a moment where your child needs positive help processing their emotions and feelings. *