Sound it Out’s Caregiver Guide (Part 1): Understand

Reprinted from Sound it Out

1. What do we mean by emotional wellbeing?
We refer to emotional wellbeing as the full range of a kid’s emotions, behavior, ideas, and relationships. When you think about it, your emotional wellbeing is comparable to that of your physical wellbeing, where the healthy side of the spectrum means your body and mind are working to perform the tasks and functions it is meant to in order to keep you comfortable and able.

The goal here is to make sure you have the tools to help your kid cope with the full range of experiences that life throws at them in a way that supports their emotional wellbeing for the better.

2. Why is emotional wellbeing important to a child’s development?
Emotional wellbeing impacts every aspect of a child’s life. Learning to take care of themselves and develop empathy are crucial to their growth and education, so teaching kids to recognize, manage, and express their emotions in a healthy way will positively affect their life in more ways than you can imagine. When children recognize and communicate their feelings, their path to learning and developing the skills they need to succeed becomes much smoother.

3. Why is it important to talk to our kids about their emotional wellbeing?
By talking with our kids about their emotional wellbeing, we can help them develop a vocabulary for describing their feelings. Talking about emotional wellbeing also teaches kids that understanding their feelings is an important life skill — that it’s good to listen to others as well as talk about the way we ourselves feel. Remember that talking freely and often about “small” things helps keep the door open to conversing about “big” things when they happen and, it will help them be of service to people that they care about in the present and future as well.

4. Why won’t my kid talk about their emotional wellbeing?
Just because a kid struggles to talk about their feelings does not mean they don’t want to. They may have a hard time trusting and opening up to adults, or they may feel a sense of loyalty to friends and not want to talk about a particular subject that involves them. Whatever the reason, the best thing you can do is to gently and patiently create the space for them to talk to you. Try to responsibly open yourself up to them with how certain situations can make you feel so that they have a model to follow when opening up.

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