Michelle Turner, a movement integration specialist, wrote this guest blog for momaha.com
Part of growing up is growing into your emotions.
Toddlers can go through moments of silliness and be terrible within the hour. Trying to restrict this emotional learning curve only leads to bigger teenage problems. Children need to learn to develop a healthy emotional pallet. Although some of your child’s personalities are necessary for their development, some seem to transition better than others.
Here are some fun ways to help with your child’s emotional milestones:
1. Face Off - Are you starting to get the look from your child? Worse yet, the evil eye? Try to reason with that special little girl who pouts, see if you can get her to smile. Mimic her. Ask her if she can do a better face than that. Her frustration will melt away as the two of you start to making silly faces at each other. What you’re teaching: not to get stuck in a ruit but how to get out of it.
2. Roll With It - Getting mad is a hard emotion to learn. A child has every right to get mad in situations, as do you, it’s how they handle it that’s key. You should be able to get mad and still breath and move on. In some extreme tantrums children will hold their breath, grit their teeth and clench fists until their veins pop out of their neck. When your child gets mad, then it’s time to get them on the ground and roll like a log or in a ball. After they roll, they’ll start to laugh. Then have them get up and explain what they’re mad about. What you’re teaching: after all the rolling, they’ll forgot what they were so upset about and realize it wasn’t so bad.
3. Don’t Hit Back – If your child is a hitter, you want to show him a better way than hitting. Take him outside to toss around a baseball. Throw the ball until he calms.
4. So Sad – If your child is very sad that she didn’t get their way, make faces at her. Don’ make fun of her. Instead, help her move through her emotion. When people become sad, their breathing can become shallow. Lie down on the bed with her favorite doll or stuffed animal and breathe. Good belly breathing, in through the chest and out through the belly.
5. Worrying the World Away - Play a quick game of Red Light, Green Light. You can’t worry if you are concentrating on the stop and go movement. Peek-a-boo will take that all away from a munchkin. Giving their thriving brains something to do.
5. Gritting your Teeth - Bringing emotions through the mouth can be rough on a little guy. A tight jaw can create a life-time of non-verbal responses. Put on some music and start a stomp. Once they get going, try for mimics and go for jumping. Show them how to bring their emotions from their head to their feet.
6. Rolling Eyes - Roll your eyes back at her. Can she do it with her mouth open? What about with her tongue out? Can she roll her eyes back and touch her nose with her tongue? Not only is this a great way to make eye contact, it adds complexity to a typical response and takes their drama away.
7. Attitude - “Ugh” or “Whatever” — say it back to him or her, but use a funny voice. See what your child can come up with? Can they mimic your Dracula-style “Vut-ever”! Allowing them to play with their vocal cords creates different speech patterns.
Whatever emotions you child is displaying, helping them cope or work thru their frustrations is a vital part of growing up. Ignoring these emotions can only lead to other problems in teenage or young adulthood. I hope the movements and actions suggested above will help you and your child.
Michelle Turner provides a progressive therapeutic approach to teach the mind and body to more efficiently work in harmony, with the goals of achieving increased mobility, pain relief and optimal health. For more information on her gentle movement lesson therapy: www.movementlesson.com
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