The early years are when children are the most “mold-able”. This is the prime time to help them develop important emotional skills that will bring them to success far beyond their academics, but in life in general.
Like you, each of my kids are completely different. My oldest is excitable. My daughter is fierce. My second oldest son is so very tender while my toddler son is tough (unless it’s naptime), and the baby is just plain happy. And like you, some of my kids are more like me than their dad and visa versa.
My oldest, while he is always wanting to take things to the next level, he is also so very kind. When the family has a tender moment he is the one to get teary-eyed. When a friend struggles with their problems he is the one to reassure them, pick them up, and help them back on track. It is wonderful to see him display such empathy, but there are times when these emotions that lay so close to the surface.
A couple weeks ago my husband was completing a fitness routine and vocalized to me that his knees were aching again. Knowing that Dad’s knees have been hurting for some time, my son immediately swelled up in tears when he overheard our conversation. We tried to reassure him that working out will strengthen Dad’s muscles, and that really he’s doing OK, but to no avail, my son was completely overcome with emotion.
His emotion quickly turned to rebellion when we attempted to give him ways to cope with his feelings. “If you’re feeling sorry for Daddy, why don’t you join in with him real quick and give him some motivation for the last 3 minutes of his workout? That would really help him feel better.” He grew more and more withdrawn and turned inward.
I finally took him in my arms and asked him how I could help him. My son. When he was upset. “How can I help you right now?”
“I’m just feeling really emotional, Mom,” he said to me.
This was a positive step. It’s good to have emotions and it’s even better when kids can recognize they are feeling something other than happiness.
We all experience positive and negative emotions on a daily basis. The important part is to deal with them the right way. Identify your feelings, understand why they are there, and move forward, always aiming for a more positive outlook.
These are hard lessons for a child to learn (not to mention this is difficult even as an adult). Sometimes they have to be taught in the moment, with love and understanding from a parent or teacher…but today I’ve collected 15 ways to help your preschooler develop emotional skills.
15 Ways to Help Your Preschooler Develop Emotional Skills
Among these are some great activities to explore our emotions and plan to deal with them forthrightly!
Developmental Skills for Preschoolers by Stay at Home Educator
Teaching Kids Emotional Intelligence by Mama Smiles
Body Tracing Affirmation Exercise by The Chaos and Clutter
Free Printable Emotions Board Game by Life Over C’s
The Incredible Benefits of Dramatic Play by Stay at Home Educator
Learning about Feelings by Buggy & Buddy
Emotions Discovery Bottles inspired by Disney’s Inside Out by Lalymom
Preschool Play Ideas by Stay at Home Educator
The Most Important Skill to Teach Children by Nurture and Thrive
Exploring Shadows to Ease Fear in Children by Simple at Home
Not “Just” a Preschool Teacher by Stay at Home Educator
Kind Words Sensory Lesson Friendship Activity by Preschool Powol Packets
Books to Help Kids Understand their Feelings by Rhythms of Play
Teach Children to Have a Strong Inner Voice with “Wonderful You” by Children’s Music…With a Purpose!
One Simple Trick to Stop Tattling by Stay at Home Educator
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.