Social and Emotional Resources

You are your child’s first and most important teacher

No one knows your child better than you. During times of change, it is important to recognize any changes in your child’s behavior and acknowledge it. Because children’s ability to express their feelings might be limited, your child’s behavior will let you know when something is going on. Children experience the same emotions adults do and as your child’s first and most important teacher, you can help your child identify his/her emotions and regulate their feelings.

Acknowledge your child’s feelings and emotions

Label your child’s feelings and emotions as they experience it in the moment; this is called direct teaching. You can also enhance their awareness of feelings as you read books, labeling the feelings and emotions the characters display; this is called in-direct teaching. Here are some “feelings faces” you can use to begin the discussion of feelings. Feeling Faces

Help your child self-regulate if feeling sad, anxious, overly stimulated, etc.

Your child might not understand you if you say, “calm down,” so you need to teach them how to do this.  Helping your child self-regulate can be as simple as “breathing.”  One way of teaching your child how to breathe to self-regulate can be done by asking him/her to imagine breathing in the scent of a flower through their nose and practice blowing out a candle through their mouth; have them practice this type of breathing at least three times.  Other ways to help your child self-regulate is through the use of scripted stories, such a Tucker the Turtle. "Tucker Turtle Takes Time to Tuck and Think at Home"

Tucker the Turtle provides a scripted story to teach young children how to calm down when they have strong feelings by tucking into their shell and taking deep breaths. The story also includes visuals to help children learn how to use the strategy. ENGLISH | SPANISH

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the ability to focus one’s attention and awareness on the present moment.  Mindfulness has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety.  You can ask your child to sit still and listen for cars as they drive pass the window, listen for airplanes as they fly overhead, listen to a bird chirp outside, etc.  Activities such as these redirects your child’s attention to the present moment.

Limit your child’s exposure to the news

This means, limiting your own exposure to the news.  Don’t think because your child is reading a book or coloring while you watch the news that your child isn’t listening; because they are.  Constant exposure to the news can be very frightening to us as adults and equally or more so to children.  While being informed is empowering, an overload of constant news cycles can have negative effects.