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Managing sadness in children

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In this article, we will talk about an emotion that all children present, as well as adults, but that is usually little welcome in our lives. We will establish some points for the management of sadness in children.

To begin with, sadness is one of the basic emotions, such as joy, anger and fear, taking place mostly momentarily in the face of specific events. To start managing it or teach children to do it, you have to remember that emotions always they will have their functions. In general, emotions, and in this case sadness, allow us to know and adapt to the environment; therefore, it should not be an unwanted event, you just have to give it a place, after understanding this, we can start creating strategies such as:

1. Give it a meaning of its own

Sadness although it is a universal life event, where everybody has experiment it, in fact it’s not the same for all people. It is important that we learn to give it meaning, each child has his own feeling; then help him to give it its meaning and in the same way identify when is it happening and in which situation.

Example: when someone does not pay attention to you, when you do not buy a toy or when you are alone. This will make it easier for you to start naming sadness when it occurs, which is linked to the next point.

2. Identify how to detect it

As they are just beginning to respond to their emotions, it is important that we help them make a decalogue of emotions. It can be in written form, either using drawings, cutouts, or anything else they can think of.

The idea is to identify physically and cognitively when they are sad, so that they know how to differentiate when they have this emotion and when it is another. He explains that it is also worth having several at the same time but the idea is that he identifies where each one comes from. Your decalogue may have these subtitles What do I feel in my body? What do I think? What do I do?

Example: What do I feel in my body? I feel like a lump in my throat, a void in my stomach. What do I think? In that I want to be alone. What should I do? I walk away from people and cry.

3. Look for a functionality

What do we mean when we say functionality? Let’s say it’s figuring out what sadness means to tell us, why it exists. All emotions indicate that something is happening. In the case of sadness, it can tell us that something is not right, with you or with what surrounds you.

To work a little more on this idea with the little ones, we can build a four where in one column we write down our emotions: Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Happiness, and in another its functionality or what they have learned from it. They may resort to remembering previous events where your child has experienced sadness. Example: It helped me realize that I don’t like to be made fun of, that I don’t like being alone, that I don’t like to share my stuff, etc. This will help you get to know your child more and for him to know himself better. Even more importantly, they will begin to rationalize the emotion. Have that little list of emotions at hand, so you can look at it when you are going through some emotion. It will be a reminder. They will learn not only to feel it but to analyze it, which could allow them to better manage their sadness on subsequent occasions.

4. Do not judge, or avoid talking about it

The best way to work emotions is not to judge them as something good or bad. But as something natural, something that is part of them. To be able to work on them, we must first talk about them, and recognize their value and that it exists. Denying them will get us nowhere, only to a greater state of unrest. Take it this way, you can’t fight a ghost if you don’t see it or accept that it exists. Once you accept it you will be able to know its characteristics and around that, you will learn to fight it. Speak openly; there is nothing braver than acknowledging your emotions and doing something for them.

5. Provide a specific space

Emotions need space, part of recognizing them is giving them a place in your day. If you’re tired of seeing it all day sad, well put some order to all those ideas, agree on a small meeting, choose a comfortable place in the house, you can prepare something to eat or drink to accompany and establish a time in which you only dedicate yourself to that, to talk about your sadness, without being interrupted by anything. Many times the lack of these spaces of expression leads you to entangle things more and to greater confusion.

6. Look for solutions or opportunities

Part of the indicators of emotions is to help us mobilize, it is not only about getting to the bottom of sadness but planning what they will do with it. The little ones may present doubts about how to approach it, that’s what you are for, to guide. Search for solutions, if they realize that there are things that no longer have such a solution because it is already a fact let’s say irreparable, let’s say it like this because we can not go back to the past and the only way to fix it is to go back in time when this happens it is time to address learning and opportunities.

Example: If your companion moved, we can not make him come back, but if we can see opportunities, maybe a possibility to visit him from time to time and know where he lives, and his new friends, if it is not possible, we can also meet new friends, learn to use video calls or platforms to play online with that person who moved, etc. This will help the energy to focus not only on the event that provokes the emotion but on new things that will keep you active and motivated.

We hope that this article is very useful and that you and your little one can gradually establish these strategies both to manage sadness and to establish an even stronger bond of trust.


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