We often hear about how hard it is to be a parent, and without a doubt it is not an easy job!
But what about children? How hard is it to be a young child? Think for a minute and put yourself in their shoes… You can’t make your own decisions, you can’t explain what you want and you have a lack of self-help skills. We often get frustrated with children; telling them to hurry or to stop crying. Imagine pouring your heart out and being told “your fine”, or being told to hurry up when things are out of your control. Things that adults take for granted, like self-help skills, might be a little more difficult for children, slowing them down to a less desirable pace. And we get frustrated at them…
You only need to take a quick trip to the supermarket to see this in all its glory! I think we have all seen full scale meltdowns in isle 4 and maybe a clean-up or two in isle 6. You will bear witness to parents trying to calm children down after they have been refused something from the lolly isle. All these, however embarrassing for the parents, are a child’s way of expressing their feelings. As we are all aware, releasing emotional build up through crying can be positive. It’s when crying turns to tantrums that it becomes an issue.
We, as parents’ and guardians however, need to make sure that we firstly are not contributing to the build-up of such outbreaks; and secondly, we try to teach children how to express their feelings in a positive way. I’m not suggesting that we often go out of our way to cause a tantrum, but the way we respond to requests and behaviours of a child can cause this.
Children need guidance with every aspect of their lives – including emotions and feelings. I often see families and friends purchase wonderful gifts for their loved ones that foster gross motor, fine motor, cognitive and creativity but hardly, if ever, gifts that will foster social/emotional development.
Fostering children’s emotions and feelings will encourage them to express them in a positive manner. Children will learn that it is OK to cry, feel angry, scared, nervous, silly, happy, sad or worried! Having the skills to express feelings is such an important part of their development to continue to gain further life skills. They will learn how to foster positive relationships, gain a feeling of belonging and a strong sense of identity. These skills will set the foundation to a happy and fulfilling life – the one thing we all want for our children.
Boab Toys stock a range of resources that are specially designed to help children to identify emotions and feelings and how to express them in a healthy way. You can check out the Eggspressions that focus on a range of emotions through a story book and egg cups that reflect those emotions. This resource is particularly good for allowing children to read along with you as they interact and identify emotions. They can match the emotions in the book to the hilarious egg-heads and learn how to ‘eggspress’ themselves in a positive way. Using humour and a well written story, children will have the opportunity to learn about their own feelings.
Children learn every day and as their parents and guardians we are so lucky to be that greatest influence and role model. Take this job with both hands and mould these beautiful little people into confident, respectful, kind hearted beings and continue to make this world the best it can be.