When teachers help preschoolers manage emotions in the classroom, those children become better problem solvers when faced with emotional situations, and are better able to engage in learning. In teenagers, “emotional intelligence”—the ability to recognize and manage emotions—is associated with greater self-esteem and ability to manage stress.
Dr. David offers four steps for helping a child go through, rather than around, a negative emotion and emerge ready to move on:
- Feel it – Validate their emotion rather than saying, “Don’t be sad.”
- Show it – Let them know it’s okay to display a feeling. e.g. with tears,
- Label it – Help them understand what they are feeling, e.g. stress versus anger,
- Watch it go – Everything passes. Help children understand “this is sadness; this is what it’s like when sadness passes.”
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