I believe this has been the year when we, as adults, have gained a greater understanding of the impact of big emotions. Fear, worry and uncertainty have tainted many words and actions at various times and it’s only with reflection that we work out that big emotions have been the driver.
Big emotions are everywhere at the moment in the world of many children as they manage being at kindy with transition visits to school. (Another worthwhile read to support the transition to school is 2021: Transitioning children to school*) Sometimes it’s just all too much! The simplest thing can prompt a melt-down of out-of-this-world proportions.
The trick for adults is to draw on their own emotional maturity to control big emotions so that we can respond in a way that will help children on that long journey of learning to name, understand and regulate their emotions.
A teaching colleague of mine, a long time ago, reminded me of the power of ponder. Pausing before responding has been one of the most significant tools that I draw on daily. A recent article I was reading by Doctors Havighurst and Kehoe, included the tip to build in a pause of 30 seconds before reacting for parents who are feeling emotional.
Dr Havighurst also encourages us to reflect on our own childhood experiences with emotion. She says, “some of the really interesting research looking at intergenerational patterns of parenting shows that we often parent the same way one generation to the next. If we’ve developed an awareness of what our own experience was and how it has affected us, then we have a greater capacity to try something different and do something new”.
Understanding our default response is the first step in being able to practise an alternative, more considered response. I highly recommend taking some time to read and ponder the following articles: Teaching under-5’s about big emotions accessed at
How our childhood affects our parenting accessed at https://www.firstfiveyears.org.au/child-development/how-our-childhood-affects-our-parenting
* 2021: Transitioning children to school accessed at