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Things you can do to help your children express their feelings: 

  • Provide opportunities for your child to talk and share feelings. For example, when your child is upset, let them know you’re listening and eager to help. Answer questions honestly to help your child know what to expect. If your child isn’t ready to talk, it’s okay. They just might not know how to express their feelings, it may be easier to share through art, music or even the way they’re playing.
  • Tell stories of how you’ve felt in similar situations, how you handled it (good or bad) and how it turned out.
  • Come up with options and problem solve together. You may want to try creative ways to express feelings, like drawing pictures, writing a story, acting out a play, or singing a song.
  • Help your child notice the progress made. Remind your child of the things that are going well in recovery. Help your child notice the good and enjoyable things in life, like a favorite activity or a pet.
  • Give comfort by being with your child.
  • Focus on routine. Help your child know what to expect. Talk about the plan for the day and establish a schedule for day-to-day activities.
  • Give choices. Encourage your child to participate in decision-making in daily activities, and planning special outings, vacations or celebrations.
  • Express affection and encouragement. Say the words, “I love you,” “I am proud of you,” and “I am here for you.”
  • Hold your child, give hugs, or offer a hand massage or back rub.

Don’t forget, you’re not in this alone. Talk with your child’s health care team for ideas on how to help your child learn healthy ways to cope with emotions.


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