Part of growing up is growing into your emotions. Toddlers can go thru moments of silliness and they are terrible within the hour, keeping parents on their toes! Trying to restrict this emotional learning curve only leads to bigger teenage problems because they didn’t learn to develop a healthy emotional pallet. Although some of your child’s personalities are necessary for their development, some seem to transition better than others. Here are some fun ways to help with your child’s emotional milestones.
The first thing to consider, is that our movements create our emotions. We’ve always heard about fraises ” turning green with envy” “roll with it” “stand up for your beliefs” – well, we move thru our emotions. You can teach your children to better handle their mad sillies and who knows, you might learn a few tricks.
- Face Off – Are you starting to get ‘The Look’ from your child? Worse yet, ‘The Evil Eye’? “Time to make faces!” Instead of try to reason with that special little girl with that pout, see if you can out do her. Mimick her. Ask her if she can do a better face than that. You will see the frustrations from the lack of your understanding her melt away as the two of you start to make faces at each other. What you are teaching her to do is not to get stuck in that position but to give her ways to go in and out of it. How fun would a special hour be with some face paints or make-up?
- Roll With It – Getting mad is a hard emotion to learn. A child has every right to get mad in situations, as do you, it’s how they handle it that’s key. You should be able to get mad and still breath and move. The extreme is to hold your breath, grit your teeth and clench your fists until your veins pop out of your neck. When your child’s mad, then it’s time to roll around. Get them on the ground and roll like a log or in a ball. After they roll, you should see them start to laugh. Have them get up and explain what they are mad about. You’ll see that they have forgotten or realize that it wasn’t so bad.
- Don’t Hit Back – If your child is a hitter. You don’t want to show him want to show him a better way to hit by hitting back. Throw a ball. Go for the pitch. But can you catch back? They can’t throw the ball until they can catch it. For children that are a little older, I recommend using a great ball with planet Earth printed on it. Before you could throw it, you had to ask, “Have you heard of ….?” If you know the answer, you needed to either know a bordering country or general location.
- So Sad – If your child is very sad that they didn’t get their way, now is not the time to make faces back. You don’t want to make fun of her. You’re looking for ways to have her move thru it. When people become sad, their breathing can become shallow. Lie down on the bed with her favorite doll or stuffed animal and breathe. Good belly breathing, in through the chest and out through the belly. If they are having problems getting the hang of it, put their doll or stuffed animal on their belly and have them go for a ride.
- Worrying the World Away – Your brain wants to do something. When it can’t do anything then it worries. Remember how great a quick game of Red Light, Green Light was? You can’t worry if you are concentrating on the stop and go movement. Peek-a-boo will take that all away from a munchkin. Giving their thriving brains something to do.
- Gritting your Teeth – Bringing emotions through the mouth can be rough on a little guy. A tight jaw can create a life-time of non-verbal responses. “Stomp Your Feet” start by putting on some music and start a stomp. Once they get going, try for mimics and go for jumping. Show them how to bring their emotions from their head to their feet.
- Rolling Eyes – Are you just trying to find out what your child might want to have for dinner and you’re only seeing the whites of their eyes. This is a great opportunity to see how coordinated they really are. Can they do it with their mouth open? Can they do it with their tongue out? Can they roll their eyes back and touch their nose with their tongue? Can they roll or twist their tongue and roll their eyes back? Not only is this a great way to make eye contact, it adds complexity to a typical response and takes their drama away.
- Attitude – “Ugh” or “Whatever” – having a conversation with a small little boy with the vocabulary of an ‘Ogre’ when then get upset can be difficult. Have fun and make some voices of characters! See what your child can come up with? Can they mimic your Dracula! Allowing them to play with their vocal cords creates different speech patterns. (I might add that I do an excellent Grover!)
Whatever emotions you child is displaying, helping them cope or work thru their frustrations is a vital part of growing up. Ignoring these emotions can only lead to other problems in teenage or young adulthood. I hope the movements and actions suggested above will help you and your child.
Michelle Turner – For more information on Michelle and her gentle movement lesson therapy: www.movementlesson.com