Pause is all about breathing. When we use Pause, we support our child to stop and take a slow, deep breath (or 3 or 10). Because oxygen is a gift to the brain and nervous system, it is a very quick and effective way to bring calm to our child’s very emotional brain. Maybe sit down next to your child and get them to copy your nice, long, deep breaths – that way your brain is getting the benefits of oxygen as well!
In getting our children to Reflect, we are supporting them to be curious and ‘visit’ their inner world. The first step is to guide your child to name the emotions they are feeling. If your child struggles to find the ‘emotion words’, be curious and put in a guess or two – they will let you know whether you guessed right or not!
With the second step, we want to show our kids that we understand and accept their emotions. Here it is more about what NOT to do. Avoid second-guessing the emotions they share. No matter how left field, remember that it is their emotion, and therefore very important to them. Simply empathise and let them know that you understand. You could say something like: “I’m sorry you feel so sad. It must be so hard to have such a big feeling.”
Thirdly, explore with your child why they may be feeling that way. Although you may have a very strong idea about why your child is angry, frustrated or disappointed, your child may not. This is a great opportunity to show them how to be curious about their inner world. Use phrases such as:
“I’m wondering whether you’re feeling so angry because….”
“I guess I would feel sad too if…”
This will get your child thinking about how what is happening around them can influence their thoughts and feelings. Remember, it is a brave thing for our children when they face up to their big emotions so try to stay understanding, empathetic and compassionate throughout.