March 28, 2023

Helping children feel and release all emotions in a safe and healthy way

As humans, we experience a plethora of emotions every day. Children are human beings who are learning, growing, and processing emotions that are often too big for them to handle. Their brain and language capacity is often underdeveloped to be able to express the intensity of an emotion and unfortunately this can often lead to suppression. 

It’s important that we give children the opportunity to feel and release all emotions because it helps them develop resilience, fosters emotional intelligence, and promotes overall wellbeing. Emotions that are suppressed and left unresolved can lead to a range of issues, such as anxiety and depression, and we will often see the impact of this through a child’s behaviour. Research is now showing a correlation between suppressed emotion and damaging health conditions. 

Encouraging children to express their emotions can be done in many ways. For instance, creating a safe space where they can share their thoughts without fear of judgement can help them work through confusing feelings. Perhaps, participating in an activity that they enjoy, such as creative writing or drawing, or unstructured play, can also help them process their emotions safely. Being in nature regularly is of great benefit to the overall wellbeing of children (as well as us adults) and helps build a sense of freedom, allowing a child to feel less ‘stuck’ in their cognitive brain, and move down into their body where we truly feel the emotion. You’ll be amazed at what benefits can be gained from a simple walk on the beach or in the forest.

Parents and teachers can help children by being patient, empathetic, and attentive listeners. By actively listening to what children have to say, parents and teachers can also better understand what their child is going through and provide much-needed support. Validating what your child is experiencing in their emotional world is crucial for a child to feel free to release their emotions in safe and healthy ways. 

Importantly, parents and teachers can also model healthy ways to express emotions themselves. For instance, instead of hiding our own emotions, we can use empathetic language when talking to children and express our own feelings in front of them. Showing our children that we have compassion for ourselves during tough times, allows them to know that as humans we will experience a full range of emotions, and that this is ok. 

In conclusion, allowing children to experience emotions is crucial for their overall wellbeing. It’s only natural that children, like everyone else, have feelings that need to be expressed and released. So let’s encourage children to feel and express emotions in healthy ways, and let’s do so ourselves as well. It’s a skill that will serve them (and us) throughout their whole lives.

With gratitude