8 Ways To Understand Your Child’s Emotions Better

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8 Ways To Understand Your Child’s Emotions Better

8 Ways To Understand Your Child’s Emotions Better

Many times we see our children struggling when it comes to expressing their emotions. They fail to make us understand how they feel about particular things for several reasons, and sometimes they even try to hide their genuine feelings from us.


“On average, people reported experiencing one or several emotions 90% of the time.”

Emotional Quotient

But then, why is it that our children struggle to express their emotions?

Expressing emotions in a better way comes when they can understand their own and others’ feelings. Emotional intelligence helps us get through every phase of our lives and are also credited to make our social and communication skills great.

eq tips

Here’s a list of tips you can use to help your child express themselves better so that next time you get confused about their feelings, you know what to do!

1. Managing Parental Emotions

Self-awareness is fundamental to Emotional Intelligence. Taking care of your own physical and mental well-being is a crucial step when you are trying to know your child better and their emotions. Thus, be aware of your mood and your thoughts about that mood. You can attend to your child’s emotional needs more effectively only when you are in good psychological health yourself.

It is also equally essential for you to not express any sort of negative emotion to your child as it will only make them reluctant to express themselves.

parental emotions

2. Spend “special” time with your child

Schedule a particular time wherein you and your child can engage in activities to know them better. Make sure that the time you choose is neither too less nor too much. Not only you will get to know their likes, dislikes, interests, any problem that they are dealing with at school or college, etc., but you can also know them better through this. These are the times when you can start expecting your child to express their emotions to you.

Ensure you are physically and mentally present for your child, and you have the time and patience to listen and talk to them.

emotional quotient

3. Listen and Talk

While building up a strong relationship with your child, you must always be all ears. Making them feel that you are there for them by providing a safe, no-judgment zone would make them quickly come to you to express any emotion they want to.

Talking becomes yet another vital tool for encouraging your child to express themselves. You need to ask them how they feel and even share your experiences as it will make them comfortable enough to talk about their emotions, predominantly negative emotions.

Talking about your own negative emotions and dealing with them in an age-appropriate way will make them feel that those emotions are typical to every human being, and they will start confiding in you! It will also help in enhancing their personality as they will be much more confident.

emotional quotient

4. Provide them with a proper vocabulary of emotions

Often, a lack of vocabulary for emotions becomes a hindrance for them. They are not able to tell us how they are feeling, and they struggle to explain them. Most children only know positive or negative emotions, not the difference between frustrated, sad or angry or excited, happy, peaceful, etc.

You can start with a younger child by observing his actions. Give them words you would use to describe his actions. If he seems sad while reading a book about the lost puppy, and tears up, tell him, “you are sad, worried, upset”, and so on.

Here‘s a list of emotions that you can use to teach them different emotions.


vocabulary of emotions

5. Let them express

The most important thing that you can do as a parent is to let them express their emotions and not judge them or stop communicating. We, as humans, deal with multiple emotions in a day, and it is okay for us to have different feelings. Hence we must acknowledge and accept whatever feelings we feel. Kids whose parents don’t stop them from expressing emotions, whether positive or negative, tend to be more emotionally intelligent than others. Here is my story for you:

“My father always taught me that emotions and expressing emotions are not something fundamental. And thus, my siblings and I were never taught how to express our emotions. Rather we were taught that it’s okay to suppress your feelings and emotions. I was lucky because my mother is the complete opposite of my father, as she always thought of emotions as something essential to us. As parents, it gets imperative for us to devote time to our child’s emotional needs. Parents in today’s world must contribute to their child’s emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence comes from various aspects, and the earlier you teach them the art to recognise emotions, the more emotionally intelligent they will be.

Young children are better that way as they express themselves however they want until they are stopped or taught by parents that it is wrong! You know that you should never stop them from feeling a specific emotion or neglect them as they are all equally important for a person’s growth.

It is okay to express negative emotions, but help them when they experience these emotions too much. It is best to tell them with negative emotions when they are calm, what they could have done instead of or how they could have dealt with the situation better. Other than this, you must let them know that these negative emotions can have a terrible impact on their physical and mental body if they harbour them for long.

express emotions

    6. Be your child’s Role Model

    When your children see you expressing your emotions and explaining how you feel in different situations, they will also understand their feelings. When they are young, they may not have all of the words, so you can help them by acknowledging what they are experiencing.

    Children adapt and learn the most from their parents. So, it is always better to represent yourself the same way you want to see your child.

    role model

    7. Provide your child with opportunities to solve problems independently.

    Parents often make mistakes while teaching their kids anything because they form a protective bubble around them, as they think that they have to rescue their child from every possible negative thing. Let your child handle mistakes and failures as this is a critical component in their overall growth. You should always guide your child, help them out but do not let them be too dependent on you. Provide them with situations where they do problem-solving activities and then formulate their course of action for that problem and its practical solution.

    You need to help them at every possible step, from generating ideas to solve the problem to make them brainstorm about the consequences of the solutions and finally, choosing the best plan of action.

    problem solving activities

    8. Give encouragement and positive feedback

    Acknowledging your child’s accomplishments and strengths in front of him will give him a sense of self-confidence. It is equally essential for you to look at the small good things’ your child does and provide positive feedback with constructive criticism to understand where they were wrong and how they can improve.

    encouragement and positive feedback

    Your child learns everything at home first, and the better you shape these early years of childhood for them, the more fruitful it will be for them in the future. It is no rocket science; you simply have to be empathetic, calm enough to listen to what your child has to say, and understand enough to support them. The art of understanding emotions and expressing them better will eventually come to them if you do not suppress or control their feelings as control is just an illusion that backfires, and we end up feeling bad. In life, you cannot control how you feel or how things happen, but we always have the absolute power of controlling the way we respond to them.

    If you are stuck and don’t know where to begin, you might take help from this questionnaire to understand your kids better:


    or through this survey:


    We also conduct webinars every month on these topics. To know more:


    Books for further reading and elaborating your knowledge of emotional intelligence:

    1. Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Goleman

    2. Emotional Intelligence – Journey to Self-Positive (1)

    3. Jolly Scholars Emotional Well Being Hard Bound Story Book for Kids 8 in 1| Ages 3-6 Years| Beauty, Anger, Sadness, I am Afraid, the boy at the Window, The Yo-Yo Girl, Problems Hardcover


    4. Emotional Wellbeing: An Introductory Handbook for Schools Paperback

    5. Be Happy, always: Simple Practices for Overcoming Life’s Challenges and Living Each Day with Joy (For Fans of Chicken Soup for the Soul) Paperback

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