Saying it with a pen – starting school

So who’s little ones have/are starting school this year? Hopefully it is all smooth sailing! But don’t forget if your child is hesitant to change or slow to warm up in new situations, you might need to spend a bit more time helping them with this. Unless you ask, a child may not know how to ‘announce’ what is worrying them or simply what they are confused by. Are you up for asking the question, ‘…Was there anything worrying/scary/confusing about your day at school?’. I always find it easiest to get out the notebook and pen & draw a ‘cartoon strip’ of what happened in the situation. You might ask ‘so where did you first get nervous? Ok so let’s draw you at your desk & mummy is walking out the door…what happened next?, what did you think then?….how did you feel after he said that?, who was there then?’. The main point is to talk about what your child was feeling/saying/doing and how they could make it better next time. Maybe they just need to release their emotions in a safe place, with you. Here is a link to my initial post When in doubt, say it with a pen.

Is it ‘okay’ to ‘sshhh’ your baby?

[Birth onwards]

Have you ever said to your little one ‘shhhhh, it’s okay, it’s okay’, putting on the big, brave smile?  Either to your baby when you are not sure why they are crying, to your toddler when they fell over and started to cry or to your preschooler, crying when something didn’t go the way they expected.

By saying ‘shhhh’, we are telling our little ones that crying is not on and by saying ‘it’s okay’, we are telling them we don’t acknowledge any other feelings.

But in fact, for a child to have good emotional intelligence (that’s another post), the first step is to help our children identify what emotion they are feeling and to encourage them to deal with it, which before they mature is to probably have a cry about it!

It sounds easy but it does take some practice to stop yourself from shushing and saying ‘it’s okay’.  Instead, try being there for your little one (especially the babies) by just holding them.  You might say ‘mummy is here’ or ‘you hurt yourself’ or you might start thinking about labelling which emotion they are feeling (for example, you are sad, you are disappointed).  Sometimes, it does take some thinking as to ‘which emotion are they feeling right now!?’.  You will get better at it each time.  Try to reflect their emotion on your face (for example, frustrated or sad), before showing a reassuring smile.

For babies, it might be ‘sad’, ‘hungry’, ‘tired’.  For toddlers, ‘disappointed’ will be a new one as might be ‘unsure’.  For pre-schoolers, it might be ‘frustrated’ or ‘angry’.  Don’t be scared of labelling them!

You can also label the good feelings at other times.  ‘You are so excited!’, ‘wow you are happy’.

The next step is to help them work through this emotion but that is another post!