Toddlers, generally up to six years old, have a great need to feel accepted and respected. It is essential that they learn to manage their emotions, so that they can define their identity, way of thinking and, ultimately, the place they want to occupy in life.
From the standpoint of intervention methodology, it is important that educators also keep in mind the social learning theory of Albert Bandura, which emphasizes the role of models in the learning process. It is therefore useful to include "modeling" as an educational intervention strategy and it is also important to understand how models (parents, teachers, family members, colleagues, media figures, etc.) can influence children's attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors. so small.
But there are also some practical tips to educate children to be calm and happy. Here, taken from the text Educar las emociones en la infancia (from 0 to 6 años). Reflexiones y propuestas prácticas, by Èlia López Cassà (Ed.Wolters Kluwer) and reported by the Spanish magazine Serpadres.es, 10 tips for raising happy children.
- Accept and allow crying. It is important to allow children to express, without prohibition, the emotions they feel. Little ones should be told "If you need to cry, cry" instead of forcing them not to cry. Crying is a way to ask for help. When a child sheds tears, it can mean that he is hungry, that he is in pain or anger, that he has got dirty. It can also mean "I want you to take me" or simply "Leave me alone". Better to avoid phrases that tend to suppress emotions, such as: "Don't cry!", "What nonsense!", Etc.
- Negative emotions are also important. Negative emotions must not be eliminated: both positive and negative emotions must be experienced for good emotional learning. Feeling fear, distress, guilt, or shame is just as important as feeling joy, happiness, love, or affection. (READ: 5 tips for raising happy children according to the Danish method)
- Emotions have names. Then, the child must be taught to express and define emotions. A child has no words from birth and his first language is crying. When the child learns to speak, if the adult has offered him an emotional learning model based on emotional understanding, he will be able to easily express his emotions and give them a name.
- Emotions are legitimate. It is also important to remind the child that parents always continue to love him, even when he is crying or angry, for example by saying to him: "I understand that you feel angry and I still love you." Yes, because the child can misinterpret and think that if we get angry with him, we also stop loving him. Therefore, it is necessary to verbally clarify that this is not the case. (READ ALSO: How to teach children to recognize emotions)
- Manifesting emotional language through the body and speech. Joy is also demonstrated by a smile that accompanies the phrase: "I feel happy". Better, therefore, not to forget to smile.
- Make the baby feel precious. It is important that his needs and reality are taken into consideration; in fact, it is necessary to make the child feel always accepted and it is good to value him for what he is. Emotion is a movement that starts from the inside and is expressed outside. And it is the movement of the emotional life that identifies the person.
- Mistakes are important. Allowing the child to make mistakes is important: so he learns to be more emotionally autonomous. In this way the little one will increasingly understand his emotions and become aware of his feelings, without always needing adults to calm down.
- Make him socialize in special spaces. It is necessary to look for suitable spaces for the child to establish healthy social relationships. The little one must interact with others and from an early age she can do so if the start of the path towards interpersonal relationships is facilitated by special play spaces.
- Emotions can be regulated. It is necessary to make children understand that a certain emotion does not necessarily have to derive from a certain behavior, but that it is possible to regulate and control the various emotions. For example, you need to make him understand that violence must never come from anger.
- Encourage the learning and development of empathy in the child. The adult must teach the child to take into account the perspective of others, to understand the points of view, feelings and emotions of others. This will contribute to coexistence and relationship with others.
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Often children are overwhelmed by strong feelings which they cannot give a name or an explanation. This is why it is so important to get the little ones used to recognizing emotions. A...
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