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Emotional Development: Supporting Children’s Worries

Kid sitting on floor and writing in notebook
Centre - Collins St - Jaimee Barnett 2 - AD

Jaimee Barnett

Assistant Director @ Kids Club Collins St.

During their early years, children embark on a journey of emotional exploration, experiencing a myriad of feelings that shape their understanding of the world. Among the most common feelings in children as their emotions grow is worry.

Supporting children’s emotional development requires patience and empathy. By understanding children’s worries, we can help them recognise their emotions and cope with each day positively, developing resilience and coping strategies to overcome worry. A practical method is teaching them the distinction between things they can control and cannot, focusing on what’s controllable instead of fixating on the uncontrollable to teach resilience and healthy coping mechanisms.

Providing a gentle and nurturing environment that fosters emotional growth is crucial, helping children understand feelings and teaching them ways to cope with managing worry effectively.

A Things I Can and Cannot Control Poster gives clear examples to children about what they can and cannot control, encouraging them to focus on the present and remove themselves from situations out of their hands. Giving children a sense of control and coping mechanisms makes them more likely to be settled, confident and happy.

Items and Equipment Needed

  • Paper and pens
  • ‘Things I can and cannot control’ poster

Method/Steps

  1. Download and print the Kids Club ‘Things I Can and Cannot Control’ poster.
  2. Choose a good place in your home or childcare facility to display the poster – a wall in a shared room used by everyone is a good option.
  3. Talk to children about the poster and what it means; give them examples from the poster or others from everyday life which can have an impact.
  4. Things I Can Control examples could be: Saying kind things to friends, helping Mum and Dad with chores, or being a good listener.
  5. Things I Cannot Control examples could be: Other children acting unkind, a sad story on the news or the rain coming down all day.
  6. Ask the children to think of their own examples of things we cannot control.
  7. Reaffirm to the children how to focus on things they CAN control.
  8. Extra activity: have the children create their own ‘Things I Can and Cannot Control’ poster.