childcare Havelock North

Guiding Children Through Big Feelings

They may be little, but their emotions are anything but! If you’re a parent or caregiver to a young child, you know that the seemingly smallest things can trigger a huge reaction in your little one. It’s no fun to see a frustrated youngster dealing with overwhelming feelings, which is why the team at Piccolini Private Kindergarten and Childcare in Havelock North wanted to share some advice for guiding tamariki through their big feelings.

Acknowledge their feelings

Even if your child is having a tantrum over something silly – like wanting a scoop of ice cream before dinner or wishing their hat was blue instead of red – it’s important to acknowledge how they feel. Saying something as simple as “I see that you’re upset,” or “you must really want that ice cream,” lets your child know they are being heard and understood.

Calm and cuddles

When your child is worked up, their brain is in overdrive and no amount of telling them what to do or trying to correct their behaviour will work in this state. At our Havelock North daycare and kindergarten, when a child is overwhelmed by big emotions, we try to calm them down first. Sometimes, just sitting there with them until the feelings pass works, other times a cuddle is necessary.

Talk it through

Once they’re calm, it’s time to talk about what they were feeling. For older daycare children, you can ask open-ended questions about why they got so upset. For younger children with limited vocabularies, you might need to ask them simpler questions. Even if you don’t end up with an answer, this step helps them feel validated and you can then discuss what you might do next time the big feelings come.

Communicate through art

For some young children, finding the right words to explain their feelings at home or at a childcare centre can be a challenge. In these cases, encourage self-expression and communication by turning to art. It could be drawing, playdoh molding or dancing – the key is to give them something tangible to express their feelings when words simply won’t do.

Share your own feelings

At Piccolini Private Kindergarten & Childcare Havelock North, we talk a lot about feelings! Children aren’t the only ones to experience strong emotions – the difference is that adults have learned skills to better cope with them. Our childcare teachers believe it’s important to share this with the tamariki, and explaining our own feelings in ways they can understand shows them that feelings are normal and natural.

Read a book

There are some excellent books available that address big emotions, putting the experience into words young children understand and stories they will connect with. Try Aroha’s Way, In My Heart, or Feel a Little – or speak to one of your daycare teachers for other examples.

Our childcare centre in Havelock North is dedicated to supporting your little ones when those toddler emotions get the better of them! To learn more or enroll, get in touch with Piccolini Private Kindergarten & Childcare Havelock North.