Would you love to have more useful parenting tools in your positive parenting toolbox? Here are 3 tips on how to get children to talk about feelings from a mother of two.
I’m really excited to join you all here and want to give an extra big thanks to Jennifer. It is a pleasure to share my most useful parenting tips with you on how to get children to talk about feelings.
As a work at home mom of two, talking about feelings is a lifesaver! Although I structure my work day around my children’s waking hours, there are still a lot of emotions and their outward expression, feelings, that happen everyday. I’m so very thankful to stay home full time with both of my children, but dealing with feelings can be draining!
It takes year to learn how to control and express feelings in a constructive way. As parents, we focus on guiding our children to live in harmony with us, but their constantly changing bodies throw them into a whirl of feelings and actions they often don’t understand.
Through these feeling we have an opportunity to teach. We can focus on our positive parenting skills and teach our children to talk about their feeling without large outbursts and extreme reactions.
3 Tips on How to Get Children to Talk About Feelings
I’m not going to pretend to be a parenting expert, but I am a mom living in the trenches. I use these tips EACH AND EVERY DAY! I know they work and want to share them with you so you too can bring a little sanity to your already busy day. (I know you are just trying for 5 minutes of peace tucked in the corner of the couch reading this while your children lobby to sit in your lap!)
Talk About Feelings Tip 1
It seems so simple. But it takes practice, I can assure you. Put down the laundry. Wait to read the next text. Let the dinner prep be put on hold, wash your hands, turn around, and listen.
The best way to really listen to your children is to get down on their level. For me that means getting on my knees and looking them straight in their eyes. I am usually holding their hands or in a half hug. I want them to know “I’m here” and “What you have to say is important.” I can verbalize those two statements (and many others), but more often than not they know I am there just my actions.
By listening we open up the doors to feelings and show your child they have a safe place to talk.
Talk About Feelings Tip 2
Be the example.
As parents we are supposed to know it all. Have everything under control. We are supposed to be the perfect example of all things happy and kind.
But emotions run in us too. Frustration. Sadness. Loneliness. Hurt. And we can teach our children by showing those outwardly.
It seems counterproductive. Shouldn’t we teach, and the be example for, our children to always be happy? Use kind words? Laugh?
Absolutely, but it would be naive to think that the other harder emotions are not going to overcome us all at some point.
So be the example. If you are sad, cry. Explain to your children what is making you sad. Explain that being sad is ok and that dealing with that sadness is apart of life.
Recently, I was sad and chose to sit on the couch with my children and explain to them about my sadness. Along with showing them I can express my feelings in a healthy way, I also gave them the opportunity to show empathy. They both wiped away my tears and gave extra long hugs. My tears turned to joy as I saw before me two amazing personalities. Talk about filling a mother’s heart!
To get children children to talk about feelings, we should be the example of the same feelings.
Talk About Feelings Tip 3
Time out techniques litter the internet. And I will admit we have used them before in our own home. But over the years the time out idea just didn’t work. I tried, believe me, to have my children sit on the stair, “think about what you have done”, and then encourage them to come back happy and joyful. Not so much.
So we use time in. Time in is when you stop what you are doing and take time to be with your children. Feelings come out of children that don’t make sense to you or them. A lot of times their extreme feelings are the cry for attention they may or may not verbalize. So when things are going completly insane it’s a really big clue it’s time to take a time in.
For us that means leaving the cell phone in the other room, turn it on silent if need be, and go play. Read a book. Build with Lego. Make cookies together. Take a walk outside. Whatever works for that particular moment in the day, do it. You’ll find your child gets the time he/she needs and you feel like you are really connecting with your child.
Taking a time in show your children you are listening to them and that you want to be with them. You WANT to hear what they have to say. So enjoy the tale about the little Lego guy that is going on a mission to save Barbie from the far off reaches of The Bed for the 149th time.
Talk About Feelings Materials
Throughout what I feel is a very short time as being a parent, I have read and studied parenting like it is my job. Because, well, it is! I have books piled in corners and articles filling several Pinterest boards. I thought I would help you along your positive parenting journey and share with you some of my favorite books and techniques.
Siblings Without Rivalry is a must read. This plays right into the 3 tips we have already discusses. You’ll love the printable that goes along with this book! So make an extra space on the side of the fridge for that one!
Another technique we use in our house is to take responsibility for your actions. We teach our children to apologize and take ownership of situations. No doubt there are adults in your life that could use the same lesson.
On Christian Montessori Network I gathered a HUGE resource of posts on how to manage disciple in a Montessori home. Find ideas on routines, helping your child’s sleep pattern, and other great parenting help posts.
It took me about 6 months (who has time to read?), but I finally got through the book Wild Things: The Art Of Nurturing Boys. I recommend it to anyone that will listen. It breaks down boys in several stages of life. Then the book gives practical ways to nurture and guide your boy to being a proud and productive member of society. If anyone knows of a girls book that gives the same information PLEASE leave me a comment!
The last parenting technique I want to share with you is the phrase “Asked & Answered”. Once we added this little nugget of gold to your parenting toolbox our lives were so much easier. No more arguing. No more talking about the same thing over and OVER again. No more constant questions. Just your answers being true and children understanding that you are not going to change your mind.
Thanks so much for letting me join you all!
Marie is a work at home mother of two. She runs a full time small business for small business owners and bloggers called First Cup To Close while homeschooling full time. She is the owner of two blogs; Child Led Life and Montessori Bloggers Network. Marie has a true passion for supporting those who have big dreams! She is a lover of all things outdoors, a former Blackhawk helicopter pilot, and is a perpetual state of happiness when there is a cup of hot tea in her hand. You can follow Marie on Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.