How To Support Emotional Health in Your Children

emotional health, manage emotional health, how to regulate emotions, parenting tips, education nonprofit

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Emotional health is an important part of life and is often overlooked by many. However, it plays a crucial role in a child’s academic (and life) success. Their emotional health must be prioritized in order for them to perform at their best in school and handle the challenges of daily life. An emotionally healthy student: 

  • is more attentive
  • more focused on learning
  • feels more positively about themselves
  • has better problem-solving abilities
  • gets along well with family and friends 

However, various factors, such as bullying, intense workload, stress, lack of nutrition, etc. can cause low self-esteem, self-criticism, lack of emotional expression, and more. That’s why it’s important to help them learn how to manage their emotions. Before we can do that, we need to understand what ‘emotional health’ actually is.  

Emotional health is known as the ability to acknowledge, manage, and cope with emotions due to life events. Some (but not all) of these emotions include: 

  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Joy
  • Sadness
  • Disappointment 
  • Anxiety 

An imbalance of these emotions can affect their general wellbeing, relationships with others, productivity at school, and more. For example, if your child is suffering from depression or anxiety, they may have trouble sleeping and eating properly. They may also have trouble concentrating on schoolwork and other tasks at hand. So, how can you as a parent, guardian, or educator help manage your children or student’s emotional health? Here are 3 strategies: 

Educate 

Children are not born with the ability to communicate their emotions. As adults, we can teach them how to express themselves.

There are several ways you can do this. One way is putting emotion words (such as frustrated or sad) on flashcards and helping them identify which flashcard(s) they are “feeling” throughout the day. Another option can be creating a chart with different colors (such as red, blue, yellow, etc.) and posting pictures of different emotions on the colors that you associate with it (i.e., angry facial expressions in the red area, sad facial expressions in the blue area) and then have the child point out which facial expression they feel the most in that moment or throughout the day.

Encourage 

A child’s ability to express himself or herself is essential for healthy development because it helps us understand what they are feeling and how they are handling situations. When they fail to identify their emotions and express themselves, it can lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding which can make them feel isolated or misunderstood. This can cause stress and lead to anxiety, depression, and other issues down the road. So, it’s important to encourage the expression of emotions. This does not have to be verbal expression; it can also be through music, dance, visual art, or even through the chart example as previously discussed. 

Engage 

This strategy is crucial. Engage in healthy discussions about emotions and feelings, especially when there is conflict. When both of you can talk about your feelings in a constructive way, it helps them feel understood and validated.  In turn, they feel safe enough to share more of what they’re going through.

If you can’t get your child to open up, try to figure out what they are going through by asking questions that will help you understand why they are feeling the way they do. For example, if your child seems angry or upset all of a sudden, ask them “what happened today?” or “how did you feel when this happened?” or “what were you thinking?” This may help you understand where their emotions are coming from. This can help you empathize with the child better and make better decisions when dealing with tough situations.

These strategies are just a few of many to get you started on maintaining your child’s emotional health. This is a topic that should be considered as important as extracurricular activities or physical health.

As adults, it is our job to not only provide the tools and information young ones need in order to succeed but also support them so they don’t feel alone. As part of our mission at Strike Hope, we provide emotional support to families who have been stressed, worried, anxious, and sad due to lack of certain needs. Be sure to donate to our cause to help others who need the support!

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