It’s often hard to know how to comfort a child who is frightened, withdrawn or angry. Experts suggest that we:
• Listen with empathy. It is important for children to know you are not judging them, and that you are there for discussions, to comfort them, and show them support.
• Name the feelings. Saying I noticed you seem angry, or sad, or afraid, puts a name to the emotion and helps children define what their emotional state is. This gives them the emotional vocabulary needed to verbalize their struggles and seek the support they need.
• Reassure. Add context to what’s happening to help them understand. Assure them that they are safe with you and let them know you will always tell them the truth. This breeds a sense of trust.
• Create moments. Younger children especially need to feel a connection to their parents to help regulate their emotions. Help create a calm environment where children feel comfortable expressing themselves.