The Importance of Emotional Development: How to Coach Your Child

Parents spend a lot of time teaching their children how to read, write, have good manners, and get good grades. But how do children learn about emotions? Parents can use emotional coaching to teach their kids about how they feel and what appropriate reactions are to those feelings. Children who understand their feelings are more likely to experience less negative emotions and more positive ones, along with performing better in school and forming better relationships. SPRING has these helpful steps of emotional coaching for you to try at home.

1. Pay attention to feelings.

Acknowledge how your child is feeling by labeling their emotions. If you notice your child feeling sad, communicate this to them and ask them to describe any other emotions they may be experiencing. Help them understand that emotions are completely normal for everyone. Remember to pay attention to your feelings as well. When a parent is frustrated or stressed, it’s easy to dismiss a child’s emotions. It’s important to remember to always validate how your child feels, whether you agree with it or not.

2. Discipline actions, not emotions.

Emotions like anger or frustration can appear in negative ways. Guide your children before they escalate into misbehavior by showing them you understand their feelings and are taking them seriously. Don’t avoid uncomfortable situations and avoid judging negative emotions. Set behavioral limits when your child experiences negative emotions so they know how to react without being afraid of feeling. It’s okay to be angry, for example, but it isn’t okay to call someone names.

3. Find solutions.

If your child misbehaves when upset, redirect their behavior after discipline. Brainstorm with your child to find appropriate ways to react to strong emotions and help them understand why certain behavior isn’t okay. The more ideas your child suggests, the better. Remember you are a coach– your child is more likely to try ideas they think of on their own. It’s also important to praise your child when he or she does something right. But remember, changes take time, so don’t expect too much too soon!

Emotions are a powerful thing for everyone, but can make learning and socializing confusing for your kids. Help them better understand their feelings and how to react to them by using emotional coaching. For more tips, information, and fun ideas, check out SPRING online.

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