As they learn new social norms, it’s natural for your school-age child to experience more complex emotional situations.
You can help your child understand and manage their emotions by:
- observing and asking about their feelings, such as “You seem sad. Are you?”
- planning ahead with your child for a new or tricky situation
- praising them when they do well and encouraging them when they don’t
- allowing them to make decisions so they know their feelings and thoughts matter
- giving them responsibilities (for example, chores) so they feel a sense of accomplishment.
Talking about difficult emotions
If your child is having ongoing difficulties with their emotions, encourage them to talk about it.
It can help to talk while your child is engaged in a calming activity, such as drawing.
Listen carefully. Find out if their moods are a reaction to a particular situation or a more serious and ongoing concern.
If you’re worried about your child’s mental health, seek early support.
Find out the signs of anxiety and depression in children.
Scary stuff in the news
Our phones, TVs and social media feeds are constantly feeding us news.
This helps us stay informed. It also means children may see or hear upsetting news in the media.
Monitor what your school-age child is seeing and reading so you can manage any anxiety or fears. Support them to understand what’s happening.
Here are 5 tips:
Be aware of what children are taking in.
- Help them understand what they’ve come across.
- Provide plenty of reassurance.
- Focus on the helpers (for example, emergency workers and volunteers).
- Take care of yourself.
Learn more about the impact of distressing news events on the Raising Children Network website.
Conflict with siblings
Sibling conflict and rivalry is natural and can happen at any age or stage.
In families where children feel they are treated fairly by their parents, rates of sibling rivalry are lower.
Remember that being fair doesn’t mean treating children equally. When dealing with sibling conflict:
- stay calm and talk to them
- acknowledge how your children are feeling in the moment
- aim to get to the root of the problem (try to avoid the blaming and finger-pointing)
- tailor negotiation and rewards to each child’s need.
Conflict between siblings can be frustrating. It’s also an opportunity to teach skills in conflict resolution and negotiation.
Find out more about handling sibling fights on the Raising Children Network website.