How to Help Your Child Cope With BIG Feelings

When your child begins to have a meltdown, parents are often lost in how to effectively handle the situation. Parents can learn to help their child cope with big and overwhelming feelings.

I reached out to our child and play therapist, Shannon Guinther to get her advice on how parents can teach their child to cope with BIG feelings.

Watch the video below and read the summary that follows.

What are Examples of Big Feelings in Young Children?

Young children are sometimes unable to verbalize their emotions. When they are overwhelmed with too many feelings their only way to process these big emotions can be a tantrum or meltdown.

What Can Parents Do When Children are Experiencing Big Feelings?


Blog Image Help Your Child Cope Big Feelings


During a tantrum or meltdown, one of the first things you can do is get down to their physical level and acknowledge their feelings. You can say “I know that you’re mad at Mommy because I said, no, you can’t use the iPad. And I know that’s still sad for you.”

There is also a great mindfulness technique called a glitter jar that can work for adults and children in these situations.


Here is how to explain the glitter jar to your child:

Glitter jar to help with big feelings1. Our feelings are all over the place and need to settle. 

Our feelings are glitter and when we get really overwhelmed and dysregulated the feelings are floating around everywhere.

You need to stop and let your glitter settle.

2. Get on your child’s level and start to watch the glitter settle. 

So when you’re down there with your child (get down on your child’s level), have them look at this with you and watch the glitter settle to the bottom.

3. Explain how emotions work in our body. 

Describe to your child that when we get really big feelings the glitter jar is what it feels like inside of our body. Emotions are going everywhere.

4. Speak softly and model deep, relaxing breathing as you watch the glitter settle together. 

As you all watch it settle and going down adjust your tone to also go down. This also helps to soothe them.

Here are the steps to make Shannon’s glitter jar:

  1. Pour generous amounts of clear Elmer’s glue in a glass jar or clear empty vitamin bottle.
  2. Add just enough hot water to cover the glue and shake to break up the glue.
  3. Add cold water almost about 3⁄4 of the way to the top.
  4. Next add glitter (tip: do not use red glitter as it stains the water!)
  5. Fill with cold water to the top.
  6. Shake & time it to see how slowly or fast it settles. Adjust accordingly.*
  7. Shake again to see if it settles in ~ 1 minute.

A technique like this glitter jar will help your child learn emotional regulation to help them cope with whatever feelings they may be dealing with.

What if Parents Need More Help? How Does Online Therapy for Kids Work?

There are times when parents may need extra support to effectively support their children. Eddins Counseling Group in Houston, TX has many experienced therapists that specialize in children, teens, and parenting.


Blog Image Anxious Feelings in Children



Child with paint on handsParent Support Group

We also offer a Parenting Support Group to help parents with children that are struggling emotionally or relationally. Utilizing Parent-Child Relationship Training (CPRT), this 10-week program will help parents build stronger relationships with their children. Learn more about this program here.

Mother’s Support Group

Mothers can gain parenting support through our Motherhood and Postpartum Support Group.

This group will delve into motherhood & identity, transformation through self-care, creating a personal support system, managing energy, reducing perfectionism, and owning personal power. Read more here.

Give us a call today at  832-559-2622 to learn more about our services or book an appointment online.

Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP on Twitter
Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP
Rachel’s passion is to help people discover their personal gifts and strengths to achieve self-acceptance, create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, and find meaning and fulfillment in work and life roles. She helps people create nurturance and healing from within to restore balance and enoughness and overcome binge eating, emotional eating, anxiety, depression and lack of career fulfillment.

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