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Teach calming techniques . . .

Children need constructive ways to deal with the range of emotions they experience. To develop constructive responses to emotions, children need to learn how to calm down. We all think more clearly when we are calm. When children especially are experiencing upsetting, unsettling, or uncomfortable feelings, it is very hard for them to think about …Continue reading

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The age of reason . . .

Children develop their ability to reason at different chronological ages. Some children arrive at the age of reason when they turn four while others are seven or eight years old before they have reasoning powers. It makes sense then to instruct children accordingly. For example, asking a young child to follow simple rules, such as …Continue reading

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Transformation and play . . .

When kids play, they are not just having fun. Play allows kids to try out new ways of being, behaving, thinking, and feeling. When kids play, they are allowed to break out of established patterns and experiment with being a new self with new ways of interacting with the world. Even as adults, it is …Continue reading

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Thoughts are just thoughts . . .

Thoughts are constantly running through our minds—often unexamined. We need to take a look at our thoughts and reflect on them. If we don’t, we run the risk of creating a reality that colors the ideas and opinions we form about ourselves and others. If we let our thoughts just hum along without reflection, we …Continue reading

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Internal conversations . . .

Self-talk is powerful because having conversations with ourselves—even silently—links thought, language, and action. Self-talk is really like a delay switch to action allowing us to think things through. Children are great teachers for showing us how language can guide actions. In fact, several studies have shown that children who talk out loud as they give …Continue reading

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Putting emotions on the shelf . . .

Thinking clearly is a lot easier if we have a way to keep our emotions in check. Some researchers refer to this as “separation of affect.” This ability to detach from emotions caused by frustration is a skill that allows people to think through solutions to problems more objectively and rationally. Putting emotions on the …Continue reading

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Tune into your tone . . .

Words are powerful. Words can build up or break down your child’s confidence, shape her identity, and affect her emotions. And words are never just words. Words are voiced with tone and volume. When you speak to your child, the tone and volume of your voice are critically important. Children tune into your emotional tone …Continue reading

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Learning to be fair . . .

Children are often given opportunities to learn and develop beliefs about how to fairly divide material goods. Concerns can surface and debates grow loud over what size allowance siblings of different ages should receive and who gets to play longer with their friends in the neighborhood, sit in the front seat of the car, or …Continue reading

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Sharing can be difficult for kids . . .

Nearly every parent has watched a child refuse to share his or her toy. The child who is not sharing may even know that the fair and acceptable thing to do would be to share, but for some reason, he or she just can’t seem to resist grabbing the toy and holding on for dear …Continue reading

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Why questions . . .

Why questions are tough questions for young children to answer because they require examination of less-than-obvious origins to wishes, desires, or feelings. Three- or four-year-olds will usually answer why questions in a concrete manner. “Why did you throw your pizza on the floor?” will often be met with “Because I wanted to!” Such a concrete …Continue reading

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