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Toddlers & Preschoolers

Behaviour

Your Child's Feelings

Your child's feelings

Your child's feelings | Temper tantrums |

Children have feelings just like adults do, but the difference is that they need your help in learning what those feelings are and how to deal with them. They also learn by watching you, so try your best to react to situations in a positive way, too.

You can help your children by teaching them:

  • How to identify their emotions.
  • How to understand and deal with strong feelings.
  • How to show and talk about these feelings.
  • How their actions affect other people.
  • How you handle your own emotions in a positive way.

Here are some tips to help your children learn about feelings:

1. Name feelings

  • Help your child identify what she is feeling by naming the emotion she's experiencing.
  • This will help her learn the names of different feelings and teach to talk about her feelings.

2. Teach your child to calm his feelings by:

  • Taking deep breaths.
  • Doing a quiet, calm activity.

3. Understand your child

4. Set limits for behaviour

  • Make sure he understands what behaviour is acceptable.

5. Tell your child when she has done something well

  • Your child wants to know that you're paying attention and that she's made you happy.
  • Instead of only paying attention when she does something wrong, try to encourage her when she does things well, too.

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Tips for When Your Child is Angry

  1. Bend down so you're at the same level as him when you're speaking to him.
  2. Calmly tell your child that you see he is angry or sad (name the feeling).
  3. Explain why – if the problem is that he wants something he can't have, tell him why.
  4. Help him change activities or find other things to do.
  5. Help him calm down with deep breathing.
  6. Involve him in coming up with a solution.

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Take your childís fears seriously because these fears are real to him and he needs your love and support.

Tips for When Your Child is Scared

Things that seem harmless to adults may be scary for children. You can help your child deal with his fears by being loving, understanding, and patient.

  • Respect that the fear is real for your child, so don't make fun of him.
  • Help your child feel safe by hugging him, holding his hand, and being close.
  • Help your child work through the fear.
  • Read books, make up stories or act out situations that deal with your child's fear.
  • Teach him to take long, deep breaths to help feel more calm.
  • Encourage your child to share his fears with a "worry doll" or other toy.
  • Don't be scared of the fear too, because this can worry your child.
  • Limit TV, video games, movies or even the internet which can make fears worse or create new ones.

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Common Questions from Parents

My child is afraid of monsters. How can I help?

Many young kids worry about monsters in their room or scary people coming after them, especially at night. This can happen if your child has been arguing with you and is scared that you're going to leave him.

Be there for your child and take his fear seriously because it's a real fear to him. Listen to his fears, comfort him and help him describe how he feels in words.

How can I help my child get over being afraid of the dark?

Talk to your child about what scares him about the dark. Try a night light or leaving the bedroom light on. There may be objects like toys or furniture that could be casting scary shadows, so move these objects and see if this helps. You can also give your child a comfort object like his favourite toy or blanket. Be there for him, comfort him and come to a solution that's best for him.

My child is afraid of visiting new people or places. What can I do?

The best way to deal with this (or any fear) is to talk about it. Also, you can help prepare him by letting him know where he'll be going, what he's going to do when he gets there and who he may see there.

My child is feeling sad. What can I do to cheer her up?

It's ok for your child to feel sad and cry. Find out why your child is sad and talk about it. Talk about being sad, what that means and respond to his feelings. It's also a good time to cheer him up with some extra love and cuddles.

My child is jealous when I'm spending time with the new baby. What should I do?

It's a good idea to prepare your child for a new baby. Try things like:

  • Reading books about new babies.
  • Talking about what your child thinks about the baby on the way.
  • Letting your child help you get things ready for your new baby.

Once the baby arrives, if you notice signs of jealousy towards the new baby, you can try:

  • Telling your child that you still love him or her very much.
  • Setting firm limits to make sure your older child doesn't hurt the new baby.
  • Finding special times for you and your older child to be together when the baby is not around (i.e. when the baby is down for a nap).

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For more information:

Region of Peel - Public Health
905-799-7700
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
to speak with a Public Health Nurse

Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216


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Revised: Wednesday January 16 2013

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