How to Help our Children Express Themselves Better through Intuitive, Gentle Parenting

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A few emotions that my newly 2 year old son likes to share with we when he's feeling them: cranky, tired, happy, bad, grateful. People seem so surprised and curious when they hear him express these emotions so clearly, and actually he's been communicating most of them for several months now. Responding to his actions with what emotion I think he's feeling has helped him become aware of his own emotions and even empowered him. For example, when he is able to tell me that he feels cranky or tired, and I tell him something like "Yes, I see that you're tired. You've had a busy day. Let's take a nap and you'll feel good as new," he feels more in control, respected, and calmer. And of course it's easier for ME not to have to guess what's wrong all of the time. When he's having a tantrum and overwhelmed by his emotions, it helps to tell him what I see he's feeling and why. Like: "I know you're feeling xyz because of xyz. I see that and I'm so sorry. Come, I'll hold you and be with you until you feel better and we can do something else." He calms down waaaay faster than he would if I simply let him cry it out (which I don't do) or yelled at him, which would just make both of us feel worse!

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And one last example: since he was around 1 we've had a nighttime ritual of lighting a candle or incense or diffusing some essential oils and sharing three things we're grateful for. He only started sharing the past few months, but now he'll randomly share something like "mama! grateful for xyz (flowers, trees, moon, daddy etc)!" It's all such a journey of highs and lows and figuring it out as we go but I do have to say that listening and responding to our children (while sometimes more work and quite exhausting) helps foster a beautiful and reciprocal relationship which I'm grateful for.

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