This week has been one of those weeks where, as a mother, I have reached my limit when it comes to handling my kids’ emotions. We go through our days moving from one meltdown to another and I am exhausted. All I want to do is eat away my own feelings with a pint of ice cream, but alas, my nursing baby is allergic to dairy.
As I struggle not to lose my patience with my kids, I remind myself of this:
If I, an adult, still have trouble handling my emotions, how can I expect my kids to?
God Made Emotions
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While this week has been difficult, it has helped us to learn and grow. Every tear shed over a plate of unwanted food is an opportunity for us to talk about how to handle emotions in a healthy way.
This idea has been the foundation of our discussions:
God Made Emotions
Our emotions can be difficult to understand, overwhelming, and downright inconvenient, but God made them for a reason. Emotions can act like a compass. Joy points us to something beautiful. Anger points us to something broken. Our emotions can be a wonderful tool when handled correctly, and horribly destructive when handled incorrectly.
Ephesians 4:26 In your anger do not sin
Over time our children can learn to handle their emotions in healthy ways with practical ideas and practice. In each conversation I try to provide them with a positive alternative for expressing their feelings.
When you feel:
Frustrated: Instead of crying, ask a grown up for help
Angry: Instead of yelling, talk about what is upsetting you.
Impatient: Instead of whining, find something else to do while you wait.
If only we could learn this after one conversation. It takes a lifetime to learn how to channel our emotions in a healthy way, and opefully we can give our children the tools they need to help them along the way.
Snack Time – Making Faces
At a young age it is helpful to give kids an emotional vocabulary. This snack activity is a great tool to help kids put a name, and a face, to different emotions.
What You’ll Need:
- Large round crackers
- Small finger foods (We used almonds, carrot sticks, chocolate chips, raisins, and cheese cubes)
Ask your child to create faces showing certain emotions on each cracker. “Can you make this one a happy face and this one a sad face?” Be creative and have fun!
Learn and Grow
As we teach our children about their feelings, we must go to God in prayer. Only the Lord knows our kids’ hearts and deepest emotional needs. He can give us wisdom and patience to teach our children well and make the most of the opportunities we are given each day.
Raising children is hard, and we will lose our patience far more than we would like to admit. When we fail, the best thing we can do is apologize to our kids. Emotions are difficult to handle, even for grown-ups. As a family we can all learn from our mistakes and grow in this together.
What has worked for you when teaching kids about emotions? Share your stories and ideas in the comments below!
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