Talking about feelings with your pre-schooler

Knowing what’s going on for your child emotionally is important, and it’s never too early to start those conversations. The team at Quarriers Opt-In service has five top tips.

1. Ask them to tell you one thing that went well in their day and one thing that didn’t

Asking for the thing that didn’t go well lets them know it’s ok if there are difficulties in their day, and it helps them to get used to talking about difficult emotions without it being a big deal.

2. Don’t worry about eye contact

It can be tempting to push for eye contact but in fact they may open up more if there’s no pressure on that. An activity like colouring in is a great chance to talk to them while they’re relaxed.

3. Give them something to hold

Make a drink and biscuit – we all feel more relaxed with a cup of tea in our hand, and it’s a welcome distraction. Or you could give them a favourite toy, a fidget toy or a pencil or pen.

4. Use other ways to start the conversation without needing words

You could ask the child to draw an emoji or look at emojis on your phone. Even asking for a thumbs up or down helps them think about their feelings.

5. Be yourself

Your child knows you! Don’t be afraid to have a laugh with them or be cheeky – just be however you are with them usually. You can’t get it wrong. As long as you’re chatting, it’s good.