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Emotional Regulation for Preschoolers: Tips for Parents and Educators

PUBLISHED

31 May 2024

Angry Asian Kid

Emotions are a fundamental aspect of the human experience and can affect individuals of all ages. Similar to adults who encounter highs and lows, children also navigate this emotional spectrum. For instance, challenging behaviours in children may serve as a means of expressing hurt or asserting independence. 

Understanding emotions in children is key to fostering empathy and effective communication with the younger generation. As parents, helping our children navigate the intricate world of feelings is crucial for their overall development and well-being. 

Join us on this journey as we explore the impact of managing big feelings and unravel the strategies to encourage emotional awareness.

1. Validate and Acknowledge Emotions

Gone are the days of brushing aside feelings. Today, one of the first steps in nurturing emotional intelligence is to validate and acknowledge your child’s feelings to enhance their capacity to comprehend and manage their feelings, while equipping them with the skills to navigate emotional situations more effectively. Instead of perceiving your child’s actions as misbehaviour, you are encouraged to stay compassionate and speak in a reassuring voice to help them relax. 

This is also often practised in childcare in Singapore, including at NTUC First Campus’s preschools. My First Skool (MFS), an anchor operator, adopts a relationship-based curriculum that focuses on forging close bonds and building genuine connections. Educators are trained to recognise and respond to children’s emotions sensitively, creating a nurturing environment where children feel safe expressing their feelings and exploring their emotions. 

2. Teach Emotion Vocabulary

Building a rich vocabulary to describe emotions is akin to giving your child the tools they need to handle big feelings. Introduce words like happy, sad, angry, frustrated, and excited, broadening their ability to articulate their feelings. Labelling emotions can help your child learn and recognise their emotions. For instance, say ‘I can see that you are upset because…’ This helps them to understand some of the complex and big emotions that they may be struggling to grasp. 

Little Skool-House (LSH)’s relationship-based curriculum places a significant emphasis on storybook-driven learning, where childcare teachers employ the power of narratives to convey complex ideas in a captivating and inviting manner. Through storytelling, children learn to identify and label their emotions, understand the causes behind them, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. This further aids children in understanding their sense of self, navigating interpersonal relationships, and developing crucial aspects of social and emotional intelligence in an enjoyable and accessible way. 

3. Introduce Emotional Regulation

While parents play a pivotal role in nurturing their child's emotional growth, at NTUC First Campus, our childcare teachers stand ready as valuable partners in this journey. They are committed to providing a supportive environment through our relationship-based curriculum, where children thrive and learn to regulate their emotions effectively. 

Find out more about our relationship-based curriculum here.

Studies indicate that certain parental responses positively influence children’s social and emotional development, while others may have adverse effects. Supportive reactions, such as encouraging children to express their emotions and assisting them in problem-solving, fall into the former category. Children whose parents employ more supportive strategies often exhibit enhanced emotional coping skills and demonstrate fewer emotional and behavioural challenges.

Rather than expressing frustration or resorting to shouting after a taxing day at work, teach positive emotional regulation in children. Demonstrate healthy coping methods like taking deep breaths or going for a walk to instil effective ways to manage and calm emotions.

4. Encourage Emotional Awareness

Teach your child to understand facial expressions and body language linked to specific feelings. This awareness not only equips them with the tools they need to address their emotions effectively, but also helps them understand and appropriately respond to the emotions of others.

Within the comprehensive curriculum at childcare centres like MFS and LSH, there is a deliberate focus on fostering positive peer relationships. This emphasis aids in the development of children’s social-emotional skills, teaching them empathy, the art of harmonious interaction, and effective problem-solving as they form meaningful connections with their peers. It not only diminishes potential anxiety but also empowers children to express their authentic selves with confidence.

Small Acts, Big Impact

Cute Asian Child Drawing Picture With Crayon

While parents play a pivotal role in nurturing their child’s emotional growth, at NTUC First Campus, our childcare teachers stand ready as valuable partners in this journey. They are committed to providing a supportive environment through our relationship-based curriculum, where children thrive and learn to regulate their emotions effectively. 

Find out more about our relationship-based curriculum here.

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