We often wonder why pre-school children show their emotions so strongly and intensely? What influences their behavior? Why is it so difficult for us to understand what drives them?
It turns out that emotional development is an extremely complicated and lengthy process. Its shaping begins right after the baby is born. It is then that it begins to observe its parents and guardians and their reactions to a specific situation. When he/she does not like a smell, he/she turns his/her head and grimaces, when he/she is happy he/she starts smiling, and when he/she is tired or hungry – he/she cries. Over time, the way you express and deal with your emotions changes.
Children’s emotions are characterized by intensity. They appear and change quickly. In an instant, a young man can be joyful and content with what He/she is doing. However, a small stimulus is enough for his/her behavior to change dramatically – He/she starts screaming, stomping or tapping his/her hands on the floor. The 3-year-old’s emotional states are violent and very volatile. The child is not yet able to control or hide his emotions. Anger often leads to aggressive hitting, biting, and kicking behavior. A child who is three and a half years old begins to rebel more and more often. He/she does not want to follow orders, likes to control what is happening in his/her environment, expresses his/her opposition strongly. However, it is also a period when children more easily agree to part with their parents.
The four-year-old slowly begins to name the emotions he/she experiences. More and more often, he/she is also able to determine what is the reason why he/she or someone in his/her environment feels such and not other emotions. During this period, the impulsiveness and variability in expressing emotions are still observed. Sometimes the tension is released by sucking the thumb or biting the nails. It is also the time when fantasies are formed, therefore nightmares or fears that are not rationally justified (fear of animals, the storm /, the darkness) may appear during this period. During this period, the child also begins to strive for contact with peers. The first attempts to play together appear here.
The ability to deal with emotions begins to become apparent in children as young as five. They are able to give the cause of a given emotion and predict certain consequences of their behavior. They learn how to influence the behavior of others and how to react when, for example, someone is sorry. They negotiate with their parents more and more often. Usually, they also understand the messages that are addressed to them and the requirements that are set for them. At this age, children are also able to stay focused on the task for longer and plan individual activities. They also develop a sense of humor. They understand jokes better and tell jokes themselves.
What can be done to make it easier for children to cope with emotions, especially the difficult ones? The key becomes:
- creating a place to let go of anger;
- providing access to relaxation music;
- performing relaxing massages;
- providing a place for creative activity;
- encouraging your child to develop interests.
The following also work well:
- Psychotherapeutic fairy tales
- Relaxation techniques (E.Snell program “Mindfulness and the peace of the frog”, relaxation fairy tales)
- Imagination techniques
- Talks, talks, stories
- Role play, drama
- Art techniques (drawings, posters)
- Pictures, illustrations, picture stories
- Movement games
- Educational games
- Team games and activities: mathematical games, art games, movement games
- Videos to talk about later.
The role of adults, both parents and teachers, is to accept the emotions that accompany their children and show them how to deal with them. Remember that every emotion is important and necessary. There are no bad emotions.