Typically parents are encouraged to promote their child’s intellectual and athletic abilities. And while these are important, I want to add emotional health to that list. If I’m completely honest, I would like to make it the top of the list (surprising, I know, coming from a therapist). But I would argue that emotional health will affect all aspects of their life and will positively affect the ability to gain other skills. Here are a handful of ways you can support your child’s emotional health, starting at a young age:
- Label their emotions at an early age to build their understanding, and so one day they can tell you what they feel.
- Let them have their feelings without trying to fix them or make them go away. Help them learn to tolerate difficult feelings rather than fear them or fix them.
- Label and share your own feelings to help them develop empathy and recognize what feelings look like in others.
- Read books and watch movies that show characters with a variety of feelings and discuss these feelings with your child.
- Help them develop healthy coping skills for big feelings.
-Stephanie Samudio, LCSW