Helping Kids Deal with Sad Feelings


The blahs, the doldrums.  Whatever you call it, sadness is a part of life. So is learning how to deal with sadness.  And when it comes to learning how to manage BIG feelings, kids look to us.  Good thing there's lots we can do to help. And the earlier we help them, the better.

5 Ways to Help Kids Cope

1. Empathize

"You are so sad!"  "This is tough for you." "Your sad is bigger than you are."  "I'm sorry you're having a rough time right now."

2. It doesn't last forever.

Help kids understand that sadness (or any other feeling, for that matter) doesn't last forever.  Sometimes even adults benefit from being reminded of this fact.

3.  Empower them.

You can empower kids to feel more control over difficult  moods, by helping them understand that they can do something about them.  If nothing more, we can teach kids strategies to "think" differently about a situation.  We can help kids train their brains to think more positively, even in tough times. (More about that in step 5.)  This is not to say we are trying to deny that difficult feelings exist.  Quite the opposite, as you shall see in the next step.

4.  Name it, Claim it, Tame it.

Our goal is to help kids identify whatever feeling they are experiencing.  When they can name it claim it (accept they are feeling it), they can tame it (deal with it).  What a gift to give to kids.  This  is a key component of social-emotional development.

5.  A Balanced View

This relates back to number 3.  Thinking strategies are crucial.  Help kids understand that they can feel their feeling, while at the same time not catastrophizing it.  This helps kids gain a more balanced view, and hence a new perspective, which can help them cope better.  Here's a few examples of how you can help kids balance out their their thinking, "I know the rain ruined your outdoor party, but luckily, we have a house.  The party will go on indoors."  "We can't go swim today.  That's disappointing.  I know you would like to, but we can't.  Let's find a time on the calendar when we can.  We'll write it down."  And so on.

For More Help with Sad Feelings

If you are a parent, teacher or therapist looking for more in-depth help to assist kids cope with sadness, be sure to check out our newest resource, "Helping Kids Cope with Sad Feelings: Strategies that Work".  We've got you covered when it comes to helping kids deal with BIG feelings! And it's all available at an introductory special price.



naomi said…
Great advice. It is much better to find out why your child is sad rather than blow over their emotions and suggest they cheer up. You need to know why.
Indeed, Naomi! Thanks for dropping by!


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