Teaching children to recognize and cope with emotions like anxiety and anger is no easy feat. But once they learn, they’ll have tools that can last a lifetime. The key? Start early. “Most of a child’s brain is developed by age 5,” says Kelly Oriard, a former pre-K and elementary school counselor with a dual master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and school counseling. After years of working with young students who needed emotional support, Oriard, with special-education teacher Callie Christensen, developed Slumberkins, a line of stuffed animals and storybooks to help kids recognize and understand their feelings. But you don’t need the toys to take an active role in ramping up your child’s emotional intelligence. Teach kiddos to tackle three tough emotions with these techniques:
In the heat of the moment, upset feelings can make kids do things they regret. Let them know it’s OK to feel angry. Then guide them through this breathing exercise: Count slowly to four as you inhale, then exhale for a count of eight. Slowing down your breath helps lower your heart rate and allows anger to dissipate gradually.
Do Away With Distraction
Does screen time have your kid overstimulated and frazzled? Help improve his concentration by focusing on the senses, one at a time. For example, ask him to close his eyes and listen to the sounds he hears f