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By Katie Harwood, Haut-Lac International Bilingual School in Switzerland

Many of us might have emerged from the countrywide lockdown having learnt a thing or two about ourselves that we might not have known before. Being kept indoors has been a learning experience of its own, complete with highs and lows like any emotional rollercoaster.

However, this hasn’t been an isolated phenomenon pertaining to adults only. Children and teenagers were also exposed to visions of the world and potential realities they had never before considered. This being the case, they may still be feeling some residual emotion that would be best discussed out in the open. To explore these new feelings properly, they may benefit from deepening their emotional vocabulary to include new sentiments beyond happy, sad, scared and angry. Giving more colour to the words used to describe our emotions makes it much easier to accurately share our feelings.

Practice Talking About Your Own Feelings More Openly
It is natural for parents to want to shield children from certain emotions. However, never seeing any adults displaying difficult emotions can make children feel self-conscious when doing so. In response, they might internalise their feelings, which does not erase them but prevents any constructive discussion taking place.

Every Feeling is Okay
In the same vein, be conscious not to demonise any emotions, as this will encourage children to share their feelings with you. All emotions are natural and a response to something happening in life. The easier they are to talk about, the less they are allowed to dominate the consciousness. Being able to talk about frustration, anxiety, anger etc. means having an outlet to safely release it.

emotions kids

Be Relatable
Whenever possible, let children know that you relate to how they’re feeling. If they’re scared about a test, relate it to a time you were nervous about work. If you can, point out the positives that came of it, no matter how small or large. This might prompt your child to take personal and emotional conversations further, encouraged by your own willingness to show vulnerability.

Accept Not Talking
As confinement has taught us, humans are actually highly sociable creatures. However, it is also very human to not want to talk sometimes. It doesn’t last forever and when we’re ready, we open up. When this happens with your child, don’t worry. Give them some time and let them know you’re ready when they are, or try again a while later. At times, it feels too soon to talk about an event until it’s been processed, at which point we are able to speak about it more constructively.

Encourage Positive Emotions
Although the world can feel tough at times, it is also a place where exhilarating, amazing and wonderful things happen. Make sure to acknowledge good and happy emotions too. It’s something we often forget to do but which can be so powerful and good for mental health! Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to share your joy, it’s the one kind of contagious we can all benefit from.


Author bio

Katie HarwoodKatie Harwood is a member of the communications team at Haut-Lac International Bilingual School in Switzerland, as well as oversees the school's blog which covers all things education and child development. She is always on the lookout for interesting, new angles and future trends in the sector.

Not only is Katie now working at Haut-Lac, but thanks the school for her bilingualism where she loved growing up amongst a thriving and lively international community as a student. She is herself is a half Swiss and half Irish.

She followed this by undertaking an English and Creative Writing BA at the University of Warwick in England, before returning to make the best use of her skills in the school where she grew up, given her strong advocacy of international education.