Child's emotional well-being and development

Promoting children and young people's psychological well-being is a key part of keeping them safe, helping them develop and ensuring they have positive outcomes into adulthood. It is important to focus on a child's emotional development starting in infancy. As carers, we aim to support them to recognise what they are feeling, articulate it and learn how to manage these emotions.

Research suggests that all adults can support children and young people's emotional health and well-being by building positive relationships, developing good coping and problem-solving skills, and building resilience. Everything is underpinned by the relationships built up as early as birth to 5 years.

You may be wondering about the best ways that this can be done? How can I support my child's emotional development? 

the importance of wellbeing in children

Find below some ideas to help with your child's well-being:

Encourage children to talk about their feelings

Talking about their emotions, help children label the feeling and talk about why they may be feeling a certain way. For example: "It looks like you might be feeling worried. Can you tell me why?"

  • The simple act of naming the emotion can help children gain a better understanding.

There is no such thing as a bad emotions

All emotions are normal and natural, though we can experience them as either comfortable or uncomfortable. Teach children about feelings and tell them that it is normal to feel sad, worried, or angry.

  • A key message to relay is that it is okay to discuss our feelings, but it is not always okay to act on our feelings (i.e., control your behaviour, not your feelings).

The importance of sharing feelings

Do not be afraid to share your own feelings with children during the day, using a wide range of emotion words. Sharing your feelings helps children learn to identify their own emotions.

Showing emotions is important

There are several ways to develop a child's emotional well being. In doing so, you can help children and young people become more confident and assertive, be able to develop emotionally, creatively, intellectually, and spiritually, cope with difficulties in life and be resilient. This way, you can teach them to contribute to the family, build positive relationships and be able to empathise with others.

The key to remember is that we want children to develop their emotional skills.

ACTIVITIES TO DO AT HOME

There are several strategies used at Mount Kelly to support the development of students' emotional well-being for all age ranges, which can be applied at home.

Feelings display

Feeling's tree, emotion chart where children can show how they are feeling throughout the day and highlight strategies or actions they can do to help regulate this emotion.

Feeling's diary

Older children are often encouraged to write down how they are feeling. Writing feeling diaries supports them to reflect on their day, weeks and highlight a moment when they have had fun or a thing that has made them happy.

Recognising body cues

You might help children to become aware of early physiological signs of how they are feeling, and encourage them to share it with you. For example, my heart is beating fast because I am feeling worried. Or, my knees and hands are shaking because I am excited.

Self-calming and ways to feel better 

Work together to think of things children can do to help them feel better and refer to them when they find it difficult to manage an emotion. For example, I am feeling sad, so I will play some music that I enjoy. Or, I am feeling nervous about something, so I will take part in some yoga.

STUDENT'S EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT AT MOUNT KELLY

At Mount Kelly school, students' emotional development and health are an integral part of our school values. Our small class sizes allow our teaching staff to develop positive relationships with the children in their class. Students also have a bespoke PSHE programme which focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to be healthy, safe and develop key life skills. Finally, the school sends a fortnightly well-being survey which allows students to reflect and share with staff any worries they may have.

How to help with wellbeing at school and home?

Through emotion displays, teachers and students share emotions and use a supportive and empathetic approach when noticing changes in behaviour or mood.

A final thought to hold in mind is that a focus on emotional well-being development is key to enabling a child to engage, learn, and most importantly, support them to reach their true potential and long-term goals.

Written by Ms. Emma Hickman, SLS Leader at Mount Kelly Hong Kong.


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