No more tantrums? Could that ever be?
Ever wonder how to field your kids ever changing emotions?! From playing… to crying… to laughing… to screaming… sometimes kids just seem like complete aliens to the species!
But, there are some playful ways to introduce kids to their emotions and keep your head and heart a little saner. Here are some FLY tips to bring some emotional balance to your child’s life and to your own!
The two biggest pitfalls adults fall into when it comes to kids emotions are:
A) Not taking kids emotions seriously (yes, even if they are funny to us, they are authentic to them– for examples and some giggles, see Reasons My Kid is Crying 🙂
B) Overindulging their kid’s emotions and allowing the tantrum to run amok.
It is a slippery tightrope… and of course there are always two sides to fall off of. Today’s blog offers some ideas to begin a new conversation and action plan around emotional communication.
1. Get to know YOUR emotional animal
The first thing to see and admit is that our children and students tend to mirror and be more easily affected by the moods, emotional responses, and communication habits they see around them. Now, this is sometimes a difficult mirror to face, but also can be one of the greatest lessons for growth in our own emotional worlds. Notice which of your child’s moods irritates you the most… this may be a clue into a habit you indulge or a behavior that you tend to enable. Ask yourself, “When have I seen these actions in my life before?” Whatever you do- do NOT beat yourself up… you haven’t made any mistakes, you now have the chance to shine some light on something that may be growth potential.
2. Play with your MIRROR
Mirroring is one of the most effective skills in communication, and it is developed in children as young as one year old! Whatever is happening in our worlds, the best way to harmonize a situation is to find its balance. What does this mean to you? Often, it means that in times of stress, we must step out of our own neuroses- what Eckhart Tolle has coined as “the pain body.” So, if a child is crying or screaming or generally frustrated, it is first important to check your embarassment or nervousness at the door and simply meet them calmly and joyfully with balance. This doesn’t mean asking them questions or trying to figure out what’s wrong- often their verbal capacity isn’t there yet, especially if they are mid-tantrum. It means giving them a physical mirror that things are indeed all fine! Be there in embodied understanding, and give them a joyful feeling (perhaps through touch or a smile or maybe even some alone time) to begin to balance their mood.
Practice setting up these mirrors in non-tantrum space. How do you physically share Joy with your child? or Relaxation? or Pride? Start the communication and the balance when emotions aren’t high, and the peaks will be able to be negotiated a little more.
3. WALK the line
Help your kids find balance in themselves! One of my favorite FLY games is the Emotional Tightrope. You pick one emotion for one side of the line, and the kids decide what emotion might be the balance of that emotion to go on the other side of the line. You can also help them decide, for example, Happiness vs. Sadness; Anger vs. Love; Excitement vs. Boredom. Each child can dance on either side of the line, but have to follow that emotion. You begin far away from the line on either side with VERY drastic shifts in emotion, but as you get closer to the line, the emotions are less drastically. When you walk the tightrope, the goal is try to feel both feelings at the same time. It’s a little tricky, but a lot of fun… and a great skill to ask kids to remember when they are feeling the extremes of day to day life.
4. Make it PHYSICAL
Beginning around age 4 or 5, children will begin to communicate their feelings more verbally. This is a great time to have a conversation about what emotions feel like. Where does the emotion exist in their body? Is it hot or cold? Fast or slow? Is there a back or front? The sooner we can understand how to embody these emotions, the sooner we understand how fast they change, and how to find balance. Sometimes it’s as easy as putting on a favorite song, having a mini dance party, or drawing a picture of our dream place.
This week’s FLY Arts Immersion focused on this and was a HUGE success. Since the theme of the week was LIFE IS A CIRCUS! We explored the 5 Rings of our Emotional Circus 🙂 See how our kids worked through the rings of their lives through Authentic Movement, Dance & Visual Arts!!!
Wishing you all TANTRUM FREE- Healthy, Happy, and Heart Filled Emotional Understanding,