Little Kids and Big Emotions

Managing Big Feelings in Little People: 5 Strategies for Emotionally Healthy Kids

When you’re five years old, baking cookies with your Sunday school teacher at her house on a Saturday morning is just about the best thing in the world. The moment I arrived to pick up my son, I could tell by his beaming face that he had enjoyed every minute of the baking, the snacking, and the chance to collect rocks and seashells on the beach afterward. However, I was not prepared for the big emotions that showed up when I walked through the door!

Clearly, he was NOT glad to see me, NOT ready to leave yet, NOT happy to have his perfect morning interrupted, and NOT intending to thank his teacher politely and follow me out the door.  His big emotional response landed in the room like a force of nature. To me, as a young, overwhelmed, over-tired mother, it felt like a tidal wave.

There’s no question that little people have big emotions. Grief, anger, disappointment, joy–a full range of feelings come and go with a frequency and intensity that would exhaust a full-grown human. 

Big Emotions Are Inconvenient

On the Saturday of that cookie-baking meltdown, I was also wrangling a preschooler and a toddler, and, of course, I was, myself, being wrangled by a tight schedule. Instead of swooping in with a quick “hello and thank you” to his teacher and a swift three-way click of the car seats, I needed to negotiate with my little cookie baker and keep his brothers in tow while trying to reassure his Sunday school teacher that I had everything under control. (Did I?)

I hadn’t built time into my day for the delay caused by my son’s disappointment and frustration. It felt inconvenient, definitely triggering big emotions of my own! Looking back on the experience, I wish I had been better equipped to help the little people in my life to feel seen and known when they experienced big emotions. 

Is there a way to help our children to begin to manage their feelings without stuffing them, prettying them up, or feeling as if there’s no room for them? Over at The Joyful Life Magazine, I’ve written an article in which I share five strategies for helping little people manage those big emotions. CLICK HERE to join me there!

Managing Big Emotions in Little People: Give the big emotion a name. If you can’t name it, chances are you can’t tame it.

And Now Let’s Talk Books!

The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip

Maybe it’s because I’m about to round the corner into my sixties this month, but I experienced an immediate kinship with Clara Kip, Sara Brunsvold’s protagonist in The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip. Already well into her seventies, medical pronouncements on the order of “aggressively metastasized” have acquainted Clara with her own mortality. Even so, her foot remains firmly in its place on the gas pedal.

After all, there are residents and staff at Sacred Promise Senior Care Center who need the peace of Christ that has carried Clara through grief and into joy. Therefore, when Aidyn Kelley shows up full of youthful ambition, journalistic fervor, and a writing deadline, Clara begins to see the answer to her perpetual prayer–which is no surprise since “the Lord never fails to answer a request for more to do.”

Diving into Clara’s journals, Aidyn also becomes immersed in the mystery of Clara’s deep following life. Together, they learn to pray the prayer that never fails: “Break every hint of pride to accomplish your will in my life.” Brunsvold merges strong character development with a gently suspenseful plot line to create one of my favorite reads of this summer!

P.S. If this book sounds good to you, you will also love The Forgotten Life of Eva Gordon.

In my review, I said, “I was drawn to Eva’s crusty demeanor and to the multigenerational community of grace author Linda MacKillop has crafted to alternately bless and infuriate Eva. Her story is a cautionary tale for parents, for introverts, and especially for anyone careening beyond middle age and wanting to finish her journey with grace. Like Eva, we cannot rewrite our past, but the blank pages of the future are full of hope. I’m grateful that God promises to hold my hand as we compose my story going forward.”

Holding you in the Light,

Is It Time for You to “Get to Know God?”

I recently heard from a reader, awake at 3:00 a.m., and downloading my latest free resource: “Although I have been a follower most of my life I have never really tried to get to know God.” She had decided that Isaiah 43 was a good place to start.

How about you?

This guided meditation based on Isaiah 43 highlights the truth that we live and work according to our concept of God. What if you began every day with the conviction that God, YOUR God identifies himself as the God who does a new thing, who makes a path through the wilderness, who blots out your transgressions and says, “Fear not!”

I’m committed to the truth that women can become confident followers of God and students of his word, and it’s my goal to provide resources to help you along that path. Subscribers receive them automatically, and you can receive your copy by simply entering your email and then clicking on the button below…

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Many thanks to Revell for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which is, of course, offered freely and with honesty.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and an affiliate of The Joyful Life Magazine, two advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. If you should decide to purchase any of the books or products I’ve shared, simply click on the image, and you’ll be taken directly to the seller. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Photo by Nicholas Safran on Unsplash

32 thoughts on “Managing Big Feelings in Little People: 5 Strategies for Emotionally Healthy Kids”

  1. So glad you enjoyed Mrs. Kip! Your Joyful Life article is wonderful. Took me on a trip down memory lane, for sure. I honestly don’t remember all the ways my daughter’s very intense personality manifested itself when she was younger. She has always felt every feeling to the fullest, I can say that! I believe God designed her that way for many good purposes, and given us to each other to help each other grow. And grow we have—both of us!! Your words of wisdom would have come in handy along the way, so I know they will be an encouragement to moms who are where I once was. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. yes, I remember those days of trying to manage my little ones’ emotions while my own were not always well-managed! Thankful for God’s grace and for the wise advice of good mentors to get me through.

    The book you’ve recommended sounds really good, I’ll have to check that one out!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It can be really tricky when you are a tired parent to remember that kids are still trying to make sense of the world and have less control and understanding of their emotions. Thanks for linking up with #DreamTeam


  4. I’ve spent many an hour trying to persuade my children to leave somewhere, usually after I spent an hour or two trying to persuade them to stay there in the first place. Thanks for linking with #pocolo


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