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Managing Feelings

Your child will still struggle with their feelings at times. It may be when they are tired, poorly or facing changes in their lives. This is normal and your child will need your help and reassurance that everything will be ok. You can help them understand their different emotions and how to manage them. You can help your child make sense of this by;

• Taking any chance to talk about how other people feel and act – TV programmes, the people you see out and about and things your child tells you have happened at nursery.
• Pretend play with you, and their toys, will give them a chance to act out different feelings.
• When you talk with your child use words to describe the feelings you see in them and others; cross, worried, happy, excited, scared.


  • Everyone has heard of the ‘terrible twos’ when most parents expect outbursts and tantrums. This often improves when they are less frustrated because they have more language and physical skills. However it takes children a long time to handle their emotions in a safe and healthy way.

    • Help your child understand that all feelings are allowed. The important thing is we show them in a healthy way. For example you can tell your brother you are upset and cross that they scribbled on your picture, but you can’t shout and hit them.
    • Be a role model. If you shout, and ‘lose it’ when you are cross or frustrated your child might too. If this is a problem for you –now might be the time to get help? Look here for more information
    • If your child has a meltdown talk it through when they are calm again. Talk about how they felt and how their behaviour made others feel. Help them think how they could manage it differently another time.

    Don’t forget to spend time talking to your child and praising them when you see them managing their feelings well! What helped them cope? How did their good behaviour make others feel?

  • Small children can have a lot of worries Children this age;

    • Have very busy imaginations – so can have worries about ‘monsters’ or the dark.
    • Are facing a lot of new experiences.
    • Are starting to do things without you there.
    • Are very tuned in to things happening in the family; like arguments or people being poorly.

    Just like adults some children find things easier to cope with than others.

    Your child may not be able to explain their feelings you might notice it by how they behave;

    • Being clingy or seeming more ‘babyish’
    • Not settling at night
    • Avoiding things or places
    • Having more tantrums

    Tell your child what you have noticed and help the think what might be causing it. You might be able to guess if you know that they are facing changes, or have had some hard experiences.
    When your child feels worried or scared about something it might not seem a big deal to you. Encourage them to tell you about it. By showing you take how they feel seriously they are more likely to carry on talking to you as they get older. You can think up ways to cope together.
    You can help your child by explaining that being worried is normal and everyone feels that way sometimes.

    • Explain that even if you feel worried you can ask for help and give things a go.
    • Remind them of a time when they did something they worried about; when they managed to go on the big swings.
    • Come up with solutions together – like leaving on the landing light if they are scared of the dark or standing with the lunch lady if they feel worried at playtime.
    • Praise your child for trying things even if they don’t quite manage it.

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

Alternatively you can go to see your GP to discuss concerns.

*Click Here* to speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum. 


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