I trust this message finds you and your family in good health and high spirits, especially during these challenging times. Currently, we’re navigating some illnesses in our household, and I genuinely hope you and your loved ones are all well.
Today, I want to dive into a topic that resonates deeply with many international parents like yourself – the intricate world of emotions in our kids. Being an international kid brings forth a unique set of emotions. Did you know that our international little ones often experience more loss in their developmental years than most adults encounter in a lifetime? It’s no wonder that emotions run high.
As conscious international parents, we can’t help but engage in discussions about the rollercoaster of emotions our kids go through. Navigating these emotions can feel like untangling a knot, and encouraging our kids to put a name to what they’re feeling is a whole different challenge. If you’re anything like me, feelings weren’t exactly on the agenda when we were growing up.
But here’s the beauty of it all: emotions aren’t just a passing phase. They play a pivotal role in our lives, shaping our relationships and impacting our overall health. Helping our kids become more attuned to their feelings, understand the physical manifestations of those feelings, and communicate them effectively – these are the skills that will significantly contribute to their overall success.
Now, let’s talk about the key to supporting your child’s emotional journey – building an emotional vocabulary. Imagine the possibilities of your child having a robust emotional vocabulary – the ability to recognize, label, and express their feelings accurately. This skill is like a magic wand, empowering them to navigate emotions, leading to improved social interactions, self-awareness, and overall mental well-being.
A strong emotional vocabulary becomes their tool to express thoughts and needs with clarity. It’s an investment in their future ability to regulate emotions, manage stress, and gracefully navigate life’s challenges.
Beyond that, building this emotional skill set nurtures empathy. When our kids understand and articulate their own emotions, it becomes a bridge to recognizing and understanding the feelings of others. This lays the foundation for positive and meaningful connections and relationships.
Now, you might be wondering, “How do I begin to develop an emotional vocabulary with my child?” Fear not! Here are some simple yet impactful strategies:
- Model Emotional Expression: Share a wide range of emotions openly. Talk about the emotions you’re feeling, and as a bonus, name how they’re showing up or feeling inside your body. Be the emotional explorer that your child can look up to, normalizing the spectrum of feelings.
- Explore Books on Emotions: Dive into books that explore different emotions. Discuss the characters’ feelings and encourage your child to relate them to their own experiences. It’s a literary journey into the world of emotions.
- Use Feeling Words: Infuse everyday conversations with a variety of feeling words. Instead of the usual “How was your day?” try asking, “How did you feel about your day?” or “What got you excited today?” Encourage exploration and expression.
- Create a Feelings Chart: Craft a visual aid, a feelings chart adorned with emoticons or drawings representing various emotions. It becomes a tangible reference for your child to identify and express their feelings.
- Validate and Empathize: When your child expresses their emotions, validate their feelings and empathize with them. This creates a safe, supportive environment where your child feels comfortable sharing their emotional world.
Building an emotional vocabulary is a journey, a process that takes time and consistent effort. But with each step, you’re nurturing a skill, raising awareness, and creating an environment where your child can thrive emotionally and academically.
Here’s to supporting the development of emotional vocabulary in our international kids!
Sending warm wishes,
Pssstttt… If your kid has big emotions and you wonder if you’ll ever be able to support them, let alone teach them to recognize and label their feelings, don’t worry – you’re not alone. This process is a marathon, not a sprint. Know that it’s the small, consistent efforts you’re making that will make all the difference. And don’t forget, support is available if you need it to get started.