When children feel sad it can be heart-breaking for parents, sadness is a huge emotion and quickly starts to fill up whole days and affect many aspects of life. When a child feels sad it can quickly make adults feel helpless or frustrated that they cannot make it right. However, sadness is a normal emotion and we will all experience it at times in life. So how can we support it?
What does sadness look like?
What causes sadness?
What causes sadness?
Sadness can be created from a number of different issues:
Activities that we can share to help regulate feelings
Whilst we may not be able to resolve the issue causing sadness, we can support children to regulate their feelings and find relief from the overwhelm of sad feelings by considering activities such as;
What do we need to consider?
1.Be considerate – whilst your child’s reason for being sad may not feel relevant to you, to them their emotions are VERY real and impacting their life. Be considerate that they need you to acknowledge that this is the case and telling them it is ‘silly’ or to ‘cheer up’ could make them retreat and stop sharing their feelings.
2.Be empathetic – when we feel sad, an empathetic friend makes all the difference, it is the same with children. Acknowledge that you believe their feelings and are with them. Validate their emotions are real and true.
3.Look for patterns – working together to look for any patterns in their sadness, or triggers that happen in their day that lead to sad feelings can help you work together to look at ways to make these easier or resolve them. This may be looking at interactions, activities, places, environmental triggers or thoughts that occur that lead them to feel sad.
4. Balance days – When we feel sad it can quickly lead us to isolating from the world. Keeping a good structure for sleep, physical activity, healthy foods and time with friends and family is really important to help boost immune systems and feel good hormones.
5. Feel good moments – when we feel sad we can quickly lose sight of the positives in our world, and in ourselves. Supporting children to keep secure routines and to praise them for what they have done well or achieved may not ‘fix’ their sadness but helps them to identify their value and worth.
6. Avoid blame – it can be easy to blame the world for our sadness, whether it is friends, family or outside situations, however, blame is not helping to find regulation in our emotions and can mean children feel that the situation cannot be resolved unless that person changes. Whilst people’s behaviours may have contributed to children’s feelings it is important to help them identify how they can take back control and regulate their feelings again. This includes modelling the same behaviour – e.g. do not look to blame others for your emotions, and reflect that our emotions are a response to things and something that we can work on.
When do we need wider help?
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