Health Library

Helping Your Child Manage Their Emotional Reactions

Getting Started

Because your child is still developing, they may need your help learning how to manage their emotions. These tips can help.

  • Model the behavior you want to see.

    Children often mimic their parents' actions. Rather than telling your child what to do, try showing them instead. For example, try to resolve problems with others by using polite and respectful language.

  • Encourage your child to pause before they react.

    When your child is upset, they may want to react right away. By encouraging your child to wait to respond, you're teaching them to take the time they need to calm down first. They'll be able to manage their emotions better. Some children find it helpful to have a space where they can go when they need to calm down. This could be their room, a corner of the living room, or a special chair. Others may need to do something that distracts them, like coloring with crayons or listening to soothing music.

  • Help your child build an emotional vocabulary.

    Teach your child about different emotions. This can help them become more aware of what they're feeling. For example, have your child help you create a chart with different emotions and some images of facial expressions that go with them.

  • Allow your child to experience stress.

    New experiences can be stressful for any child. If you notice that your child is upset, acknowledge their feelings. Encourage them to talk about what is upsetting them. Allowing your child to talk about emotions can help them understand what they're feeling. This provides them with the tools they need to effectively manage their emotions.

Credits

Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Andrew Littlefield PhD - Psychology, Behavioral Health