A lot has happened since last World Emoji Day, including the fact that Americans may be a little happier this year. In 2016, the top Twitter emoji in the U.S. was this angsty, weary dude: 😩. This year? The rolling-on-the-floor emoji is the winner with American Facebook users (🤣).
It seems like EVERYONE uses emojis from your mom to the President.
And some people just have a lot of time on their hands.
Emojis help to illustrate feelings. But sometimes they can cause confusion, and possibly do more harm than help.
The same goes for teaching emotions to your kids. Don’t cover up their feelings by ignoring them.
When your child gets excited over knocking blocks down you probably clap your hands with him, smile, and say something like “Do you like that? Let’s do it again!” But when your child is upset that he has to leave the playground you probably strap him in the stroller and roll out so the other mom’s don’t have to hear another toddler meltdown.
You teach your baby to say “Mama” or “Dada” by saying the word over and over and over again, you can teach happy, mad, sad, frustrated, jealous, surprised, confused and more. When your newborn, baby, toddler, child, husband is reacting and expressing emotions, label the emotion, and talk about it. Just as when you are teaching the word “Bye Bye”, the more you say it, the more your child will use the word, and understand it.
No, this is not a cure all to tantrums, but it helps a child understand their emotions. When a child meltdowns because there are no more crackers, he is literally breaking down because he doesn’t understand why there are no more crackers in the bowl. When leaving the park, “WHAT????”
Before an upsetting situation occurs, prepare and practice. We can do two more slides and the swings, then when the swings are done we are going home for lunch/nap/books/help make dinner/wait for Daddy. In the end, give them something to look forward to, not a prize or bribe.
This will not cure a tantrum/meltdown every time. But over time, this set up can help children deal with emotions, understand a schedule, follow directions, and be responsible for their actions, leading to shorter, smaller meltdowns.
Prepare – We can do x,y,z, then we have to go home. Give a short list of things that the child can do before the fun activity is done. After each activity, repeat.
1.We can go down the slide two more times.
2. One more slide then we are going to the swings, then after the swing, we go home.
3. Slide is all done, let’s go to the swing, then we will head home to make dinner.
4. Swings are fun! Let’s do ten pushes then we will go home and you can help me make dinner.
5. 10,9,8,7,6,5 more swings, then home to help Mommy with dinner, you can help mash the potatoes!
6. Two more pushes, then time to go home and help with dinner. We have to mash the potatoes and set the table.
7. Swing is all done. Time to go home, we will make dinner then soon Daddy will be home!
Set your child up for success, not failure. If you were in the middle of drinking your morning coffee, and I walked up to you and took it away, how would you feel/react? Exactly.
Now, let’s play!