emotions: 2 Articles

Winning Strategies for Little Athletes

Many parents introduce their children to competitive sports at an early age, as they offer physical benefits and can teach children important lessons in teamwork, sportsmanship, and more. But while sports are mostly intended for fun among kids so young, these competitions can also produce some BIG emotions when things do not go their way. A Feel Better Book for Little Sports by Leah Bowman and Holly Brochmann helps kids navigate their first years of competitive sports by addressing all the great aspects of playing, while also offering tips on how to manage the not so fun side of sports. Here’s an excerpt from the Reader’s Note. Sports are terrific in so many ways. Whether a child has attended a sibling’s sporting events or simply experienced their family watching a favorite team play on TV, they learn very early on that sports equal excitement. Children also quickly figure out that winning is “good” and losing is “bad.” But with a little guidance, kids can discover that there’s so much more to sports than winning and losing. ...with a little guidance, kids can discover that there’s so much more to sports than winning and losing. Your brain gets a boost from all that moving. Adults know that physical activity can help improve your mood, but let your child know that, too! Sports are a great way to teach them about endorphins and how movement can help lower stress, enhance clear thinking, improve confidence, and even help you sleep better. You can still be tough at the same time! It’s also important to teach children that feelings and behaviors are not mutually exclusive. Showing grace and kindness (helping a person from the other team up from the ground) does not mean that you are not a tough or competitive player. You can be both! A good way to teach this is to demonstrate through example. Cheer on your child’s team and talk through the strategy and methods for winning the game. But also model friendly, supportive behaviors toward the opposing team. It’s okay to be proud of what you’ve done. Winning is fun and it feels good. It’s ok to celebrate! Just teach your child to celebrate respectfully. There’s a big difference between saying, “We won!” and “You lost!” But what happens when things don’t go your way? Losing or not performing your best is inevitable. This is especially tough for really young kids whose caregivers have been working to boost their confidence. Competitive sports often give children their first experience with loss, and tempers can happen as a result of those feelings of frustration and disappointment. You do not need to discount those feelings--it IS disappointing when you lose! Sometimes the best thing you can do is acknowledge your child’s feelings and just show that you get it. Above all BE A GOOD SPORT! Unsportsmanlike conduct happens at all levels of sports, and kids will witness this. But they’ll also see acts of kindness--an NFL player helping a player from

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Winning Strategies for Little Athletes 2021-08-23T18:19:01-04:00

Five Ways to Teach Kids the Importance of Self-Care

As adults, we know we can be our own worst critics. As parents and caregivers, we can help kids develop strong self-care skills to help them weather adversity and cheer themselves on.  Magination Press’s Fantastic You by Danielle Dufayet shows young readers how to develop a positive and nurturing relationship with themselves. In the note to parents and caregivers, Dr. Julia Martin Burch offers strategies to help children build self-care skills that mirror what the kids in Fantastic You do. Identifying Emotions Learning to notice, identify, and soothe their own emotions begins in childhood, but your child will continue to develop these skills throughout their lives. Emotions can be overwhelming to all of us, but especially for young children, surges in emotion and the physical sensations that go with them, like butterflies in their tummies or feeling shaky, can be confusing. They rely on you to help them figure out what the feelings mean and to name them.  Get curious with your child about what they are feeling. You can ask them what is happening inside their body and if they can name the emotion they are feeling. You can also support them by describing what you see and guessing what the emotion might be that they are feeling. “I see that your face is red and your hands are in fists. When I do those actions, I’m often feeling angry. Do you think that’s how you are feeling?” Self-validation Along with learning to recognize and identify emotions, it’s important for children to learn that emotions aren’t right or wrong, they just are. No matter how big or painful an emotion is, it is a safe and acceptable experience. You can help children by noticing and validating their emotions. For example, you could say, “Given that it’s raining and we can’t go to the beach, I can see why you are feeling sad.” When children learn to validate their own feelings, it allows them to reduce the intensity of an emotion they are feeling in the moment and builds confidence in their ability to manage their emotions. Self-soothing Help your child discover which activities or experiences help them calm down or feel better. What helps a child feel better will depend on the situation and on the child’s preferences, so explore a lot of different activities. Some kids will find that soothing their senses with music, a hot bath, looking at clouds, or snuggling with a favorite lovey might help. Others might find a project like building a fort or putting on a puppet show is  a good distraction. Finding out what helps you self-soothe is an important skill that’s fun to develop. Helpful self-talk Learning to recognize how we talk to ourselves is another important life skill. Helping your child understand how powerful their inner voice can be is the first step in teaching them to use positive self-talk. When we talk to ourselves in a negative way, we often feel worse and are less likely to persist

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Five Ways to Teach Kids the Importance of Self-Care 2020-03-23T14:18:30-04:00