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How to Talk to your Child About Big Emotions

4-6 minute read.

Strategies to navigate intense emotions and help develop your child’s emotional intelligence for their future wellbeing.

Fostering Emotional Development

Children and young people are still growing and learning to understand, communicate, and reflect on their emotions. They need support from adults to regulate and express their feelings. For instance, a child might find it challenging to express that they’re upset because they got into trouble at school. Navigating conversations about big emotions like anger or worry with your child is crucial for their emotional development. As a parent or caregiver, you hold significant influence in helping them navigate these feelings.

Tips to help you

  • Start by connecting with your child and acknowledge their feelings. Encourage them to express themselves while you offer support. You can achieve this by actively listening to them, repeating their feelings, or asking clarifying questions to ensure you understand them correctly.


  • Once you’ve listened and helped them identify their emotions, collaborate with your child to determine the next steps. Instead of giving orders, engage in a discussion. Help them explore different perspectives and encourage them to make decisions while explaining your reasoning behind certain suggestions.


  • Consider incorporating physical activity to help them manage their emotions. Movement has the power to alter brain chemistry, making it beneficial for children who might struggle to engage their rational thinking. Whether it’s playing a game, doing some exercise, or simply going for a walk, physical activity can help them regulate their emotions.

Talking to your child about big emotions is not just about addressing immediate concerns; it’s about nurturing and developing their emotional intelligence and building strong foundations for future wellbeing.

As a parent or caregiver, you have the incredible opportunity to guide them through these conversations, helping them understand, express, and navigate their feelings in a healthy way.

If your child continues to struggle with managing their emotions despite your best efforts, counselling might be a helpful option to consider. Counselling provides a safe and supportive environment for children to explore their feelings, develop coping strategies and learn how to navigate life’s challenges. A trained therapist can work with your child to identify underlying issues, build resilience, and improve their emotional wellbeing. Seeking counselling is not a sign of weakness but rather a proactive step towards supporting your child’s mental health and helping them thrive.