Managing BIG Feelings

Managing big feelings can be challenging for children and their parents. Teaching children how to manage their feelings can take time- and some days can be more challenging than others

Managing big feelings

  • Have a plan in place for when you expect big feelings (e.g., relaxation strategies)

  • Recognize your child’s feelings and validate their experience and emotions

  • Let them know it makes sense they are feeling this way

  • Practice strategies and steps before reaching the big situations

  • If they can’t follow through recognize they tried their best and positively comment on the steps they did take rather than focusing on what they were not able to do.

These videos were developed in partnership with the Mary J. Wright Child Youth and Development Clinic, Faculty of Education Western University

Here are two scenarios for dealing with big feelings:

Try again another Day

Wendel and his Dad have been practicing, but the big feelings come and Wendel doesn’t think he can keep them small. He needs Dad to stay calm, give hime some space and validate his emotions.

Try one more time

Wendel and his Dad have been practicing, but the big feelings come and Wendel doesn’t think he can keep them small. Maybe if they practice one of their strategies, they can make Wendel’s big feelings small… and try one more time.

 Tips:

  1. Do not take the situation personally (even when the words they use are directed at you)
  2. Slow down and regulate with them
  3. Setbacks or “unsuccessful” situations can still allow us to learn what works and what doesn’t. Acknowledging that we can try again another day
  4. Process of working with kids learn how to manage and regulate their emotions takes time. Some days are easier than others