Both children and adults often have difficulty expressing their feelings in a constructive way. Skills such as reflective listening (mirroring back to others what they have said), empathetic listening (showing that one understands and cares how another is feeling) and redirecting (helping another choose a healthy outlet for their feelings, rather than simply acting on an angry impulse) can go a long way toward building healthy relationships.
Working early with children provides the best chance of developing healthy communication skills that will serve them into adulthood. Think back to when you were a child. You probably can still remember a time when unkind words were spoken to you and how bad you felt. Or perhaps you spoke unkindly to another, not knowing a better way of expressing your anger or hurt feelings. Learning to choose neutral or positive words rather than blaming, hitting, yelling or hurting another can break the cycle of hurting and cause healing.
Catalyst for Children encourages you to practice making better communication choices with your children. Role playing a situation before it happens gives them and you a chance to plan how to react when things get tough. It’s much easier to break negative habits if we plan ahead.
Print out these flashcards and practice with your child. Decide what you might say to a bully. How you might respond to your child if something gets broken. Are there better ways of handling stressful situations so that things get better, rather than worse? Are their things you could do better as well, to set an example for your child? Stop
saying hurtful things in the heat of the moment. Learn how to take control of your emotions through practicing a calm, mature response to a situation BEFORE it happens.
With these Use Your Words cards, you can help your child learn to express her or his feelings in a healthy, mature, safe way that others can hear and respect.