Supporting your Child's Emotional Development

Following an information evening for parents, we thought it would be useful to summarize the main messages from the meeting and provide a link to suggested resources.

Five suggestions to support your child's well-being:

1. Know your child and their likes/dislikes

  • Help them to develop a positive identity of themselves - self belief, accepting themselves and liking themselves.
  • Give confirmation of the things they enjoy and do well.
  • for free resources such as affirmation station and affirmation fans.

2. Try not to worry about them and try not to overprotect them

  • Help them to develop resilience.  They need to experience things that don't go well in order to be able to cope with future challenges.  Life is full of ups and downs.
  • They need to get things wrong sometimes.
  • They need to find some things a challenge.
  • They need to experience some disappointments.
  • They need to fail occasionally.
  • Show them you trust them:
    • Research has shown that children benefit from being given age-suitable chores.  It gives them responsibility and if they make mistakes, they can learn from them with your support.
        Age Some Suggested Chores
        2 - 4

        Feeding a pet

        Tidying away toys

        Place dirty washing in the basket

        Dusting surfaces

        4 - 8

        All of the previous chores and ...

        Make their bed

        Help load/empty the dishwasher

        Water flowers

        Help carry in some of the groceries

        Help sort dry washing e.g. pair socks

        Care for an animal

        Tidy their room

        Clean/wipe surfaces

        Empty bins

        8 - 12

        All of the previous chores and ...

        Load/empty the dishwasher

        Wash the car

        Load/empty the washing machine/dryer

        Take rubbish/recycling to the bins

        Put the bins out 

        Sweep floors/hoover

 3. Acknowledge and help them describe their emotions

  • Teach them about different feelings and emotions and what they are called.
  • Teach them how their body might be feeling (fidgety, butterflies, nauseous ...) with different emotions.
  • Let them know that everyone experiences different emotions at different times and that all emotions are important.
  • Teach them that nobody is happy all of the time, we all feel sad, anxious, worried, angry etc. sometimes (despite the impression we get from social media!)
  • At CKJS we use Zones of Regulation to describe emotions:

Support them and help them with their emotions:

  • Sometimes just being there is enough (a hug or a cuddle).
  • Let them know the negative emotion will pass.
  • If children are in the 'red zone' give them space and time - they will be unable to reason until they are calm again (this can take a long time).
  • You could try exploring with them what tipped them into red once they are calm, but not too soon as doing this could tip them into the red zone again.  It might be best to wait until the next day and they might not know.
  • The ability to self-regulate does not fully develop until the age of 25 which is why teenagers often seem like they are behaving like toddlers emotionally!
  • If you think of behaviour as a way in which children communicate, then it can be helpful to view 'bad' behaviour' as a child's way of trying to express their feelings which we are unable to see.  An iceberg model is often used to show this:

4. Slow down and play

  • Like adults, children need time and space to be children, to do what they like doing.
  • Modern life is so busy it can be overwhelming - think about how much your children do.  Are they doing too many things?  We can feel we need to give them the opportunity to try so many things, but are we giving them time just to play outside, to be with their friends, to sit and read, to draw?
  • There is a difference between structured play (activities) and unstructured play.  Children need to learn to entertain themselves, to use their imagination.  If we always organize activities for them to do (or structure their play), they will never learn to cope with boredom.  We need to let them be bored sometimes!

5. Make time to connect 

  • Spending time with others, talking, one-on-one time are all really important for a child's wellbeing.
  • Everyone has an 'emotional cup' that needs to be filled:
    • Each child has a special emotional cup that needs to be filled.  Children can often get a little nervous when their cups are nearing empty.  It's a great idea to take a moment and check on your child's emotional cup.


What fills a cup? What empties a cup?
  • love
  • play
  • friendship
  • compliments
  • affection
  • connection
  • achievement
  • doing things they enjoy
  • tiredness
  • stress
  • loneliness
  • rejection
  • yelling
  • punishment
  • failing
  • being forced to do something