No matter what the age, the act of crying can be a standard response to being overwhelmed by one of a range of different emotions such as fear, anger and stress. Sometimes it can even happen due to overwhelming happiness!
There are some children who can become overly excited. Others can quickly get angry, frustrated and stressed. As such, they tend to cry more often than others in their age group.
This may be caused by the child’s inability to regulate their emotions properly.
What Is Emotional Regulation?
The process of managing emotions when they arise and how feelings are both experienced and expressed to the world is what’s known as emotional regulation. This can occur at any time when we process our emotions, and can be a conscious or unconscious effort.
Emotional regulation doesn’t only cover negative feelings, either; the way we manage positive feelings is also encompassed within.
A better grasp over this process helps us and our children develop higher Emotional Quotient or EQ.
Tips For Helping Promote Emotional Regulation In Children
If your child isn’t managing their emotions well, there are several ways to help them do so.
1. Separate Behavioural Issues From Their Feelings
Just because they’re feeling sad or angry about something doesn’t make acting out in ways like screaming or throwing full temper tantrums acceptable. Help them to understand that while they are allowed to feel different emotions, the actions (behaviour) they take as a result of these emotions may not be okay.
When disciplining for their behaviour, explain to them that it is the behaviour they’re being punished for — not their emotions.
2. Accept Their Process
While you may not be able to fully comprehend the reasons for them feeling the way they are, it’s important to show them that you understand and accept that they’re going through their emotions.
Talk with them and let them know you’re fully accepting of them for who they are and you’re there for them when they need you.
3. Deep Breaths
Show your child how to breathe deeply and slowly — in through the nose and out through the mouth. You might begin teaching this by heading outdoors and taking in all of the different scents in a park near your home.
Explain to them that doing this when we’re feeling overwhelmed with emotions can help to calm us down. Next time you see that they’re becoming emotional for whatever reason, sit with them and breathe deeply in and out together.
After doing it with them a few times, let them know they can do this by themselves next time and monitor their progress.
4. Boost Their Mood
Their favourite activities can be a powerful tool to help bring them back from their negative space quite well. Speak with them to identify a number of these and write them down somewhere.
The next time you find them becoming too overwhelmed with feelings, bring out their list of favourite activities and ask them which one they’d like to do at that moment.
5. Take Some Time Out
Sometimes, the best thing for an overly emotional child is to break away by themselves for a little while into a quiet space so that they can gather their thoughts. Let them know it’s perfectly acceptable for them to do this when they’re with you. As noted above, accepting your child’s process is key here. If they need to shut off for a bit, let them do so.
6. Don’t Use Rewards For Calming
Every time your child has an emotional outburst, avoid calming them down by offering them some chocolate or another type of treat. Otherwise, they’ll quickly realise that all they need to do to get another one is have another emotional outburst!
7. Understand When To Seek Professional Assistance
There may be other underlying causes of being over-emotional. Anxiety in children is just one of these potential causes, but it’s important that you seek assistance from experienced child psychology centres for further investigation in some cases.
Seek Early Intervention When Emotional Regulation Becomes A Concern
It is important to identify when it is necessary to seek expert help to address your child’s inability to regulate their emotions. Often, these can be caused by underlying conditions which trained child psychologists can help to detect.
If you believe your child may be experiencing any potential delays in their development, one of the most important things is early intervention through expert child psychology approaches. This provides your child with the best opportunities to continue with their progression and development, perhaps even catch up to the level of their peers.
Through all-inclusive assessments and personalised therapy at MindChamps Allied Care, our child psychologists and therapists study the psychosocial, emotional, behavioural and cognitive needs of your child, while working closely with you. This way, they can plan a well-tailored intervention programme that can help address the challenges your child faces at each stage of their lives and guide you on your role as a supportive parent.
Book an appointment at one of our many therapy centres today and give your child the best chance to thrive.