It’s not fair! I’m sure you’ve heard those words. It starts early and it continues all the way through the teen years. No matter how well our children play together, there will be times when they simply aren’t getting along. I’m sure we have all experienced those feelings ourselves at some point. Someone says or does something and suddenly we feel hurt, angry or scared or a combination of any or all these things. That’s a lot of emotion for a small child to handle.

We need to teach our children to say what they are feeling rather than show it. The best way is to be a role model and teach them how to use words instead of actions to express their feelings.

Show them how to use different words for their feelings.

I'm mad...I'm sad...I'm happy...I'm frustrated...I'm scared...I'm excited

Photo by Lina Kivaka

A fun way to do this is get a magazine or book and look at pictures together. Imagine what the people in the pictures are feeling and play a story game of what happened. Children are very good at things like this. Encourage them to talk about it and imagine a story about it like: that person is angry because…. or that person is sad because…

You can cut out pictures together and make a big collage to put on the wall or fridge to help your child remember.

Let your child know that it’s okay to feel like this.

Teach them ways to calm down like taking a deep breath and counting to 10. You can even make a spot in the house for calming down and let everyone in the family know that this is a calm-down place. When someone is there, everyone else should respect that and stay away.

What do you do to calm down when you’re upset? Share some of your strategies with your children. Watching what you do is the way children learn best.