It is easy to notice your child do something good if you look for it. When you see your child do something kind or helpful, talk to them about it. For example, if your child is playing very gently with the baby, say,
- You are being so gentle with your soft touches! The baby is having fun playing with you.
Make sure you tell them what they did that was good. Encourage them when they are sharing, being kind, picking up the toys, or writing their name.
Try this! Let your child be the person who “catches” others doing a good job. Teach them how to tell others they like their kindness, friendship, or help.
There will be times when your child is frustrated, angry, or scared about something. They may act out by yelling, crying, or even hitting. Children are still learning about their feelings.
You can help your child understand their feelings by naming their emotions.
- I see some tears and crying. You look sad.
You can help them calm down when they have these strong emotions.
- That was scary when you fell down. Would you like a hug to make you feel better?
You can offer ways they can solve their problems. For example,
- That made you so upset when your sister took the toy. You can tell her “I am not done.”
Think of times your child shows big emotions. Think of some ways to solve those problems, including what they can say or do. They can get help from an adult, wait their turn, trade, or take a break. It will take many times and lots of practice for your child to learn how use their words or think of another way to solve their problem or express their feelings.
I am Listening
When your child is talking to you, look directly at them. Show them that you are listening to what they are saying. Ask them questions to help them tell you what they are trying to say. You can say,
- And then what happened?
- What did they say?
Let them know that you are interested in what they think. Show them that their feelings are important to you by responding to what they say. For example,
- That must have hurt or
- You seem excited about that!
When your child tells you something important or tells you a good story, ask them to tell someone else. You can say,
- That is such a great story! I think Mom would like to hear about this too!
I Can Help
Find ways that your child can help in daily activities. Notice their work by saying,
- You are so helpful! Thank you for ___________
At this age, your child has many skills that are very useful! They can carry things, find things, clean up, set the table, and help with simple chores around the house. Tell them how much it helps your family when they help out!
Teach your child how to take deep breaths to help them calm down.
Start by placing your hand on your belly. Show your child how you close your mouth, breathe in through your nose, and let the air fill up your chest and belly. You can have your child put their hand on your belly, so they feel it move when you breathe. Say,
- I am going to put my hand on my belly and close my mouth. I take a big breath in, and my belly fills up with air. Then I let my breath out and my belly goes down.
- Help me count 1,2,3 when I breathe in, and count 1, 2, 3 when I breathe out.
Help your child put their hand on their belly and take deep breaths. Show them how they can feel their belly go up and down while they are breathing. Say,
- It is your turn!
- See how your hand on your belly moves up and down when you breathe? Your belly fills with fresh air and that makes you feel better!
- Let’s do it together.
Talk about how deep belly breaths help your body feel calm when you are mad, sad, or nervous.
Try this! Have your child lay down and put a toy or small stuffed animal on their belly. Have them try slow belly breathing while they balance that item on their belly. This helps your child learn to control their breaths.
Practice this deep breathing with your child when they are calm and relaxed. Then, they will be ready to use it when they need it.