We can all picture a toddler ‘chucking a tantrum’ in the shopping centre because his mother denied him a chocolate bar, a four-year-old running to her kindergarten teacher in tears because her block tower fell over, or a youngster jumping around on all the furniture and poking his siblings on Christmas morning. Just like adults, children experience a myriad of emotions on a daily basis, from happiness and excitement to sadness and anger and everything in between. However, the ability to identity and manage these feelings, known as emotional regulation, is a skill that develops with experience.
Children often act out, displaying aggression, yelling, crying or perhaps retreat when they have an emotional experience. These actions are often misinterpreted as the child misbehaving, however it may be that they are having difficulty expressing how they are feeling and/or don’t know how to work through this. This may be even more intensified with children who have challenges with verbal communication, as they might not have a means to express themselves clearly (Lynn et al 2011).
While these behaviours may be frustrating for caregivers, it's an opportunity to provide the child with assistance and guidance to work through emotional experiences, and in turn support the development of emotional-regulation skills.
Why not try: