Concerning Kids – Why kids scream and cry and are overly happy the next minute


Christian Life

Anna Gnatyshyna, CNE.news

Child on a swing. Photo Unsplash, Myles Tan

I enjoy buying presents for my friends’ children. The process is relaxing and so pleasant, but above all, it is rewarding. When I pick the present, I think of a girl and anticipate her reactions and emotions, when she gets the gift, especially if it is an unplanned present.

Children are so sincere and emotionally open, you can literally read their faces and see all their thoughts. And they make you feel the best in the world when they express the joy over your present, and they express it loudly in public.

However, there are bad days when a child is not in its best mood. All the neighborhoods will also hear its screams and shouting. Kids express themselves loudly and in public. Such moments are not my best memories.


Processing emotions is hard and challenging, even for adults. Therefore, we cannot expect children to deal with them reasonably. They need to learn how to process and manage their own feelings. And the best way to do it is to talk about feelings and our own reactions to the feelings.

Once when I was a teenager, I was left to babysit a child. It was my first time babysitting, and well, that was a hard day. In the end of the day, I was sure I would never ever babysit anyone again. I was not prepared to deal with the wide range of emotions that a child has. Later, her mother said that their family is teaching the kid to manage her feelings through conversations and games.

They sit down and take some deep breaths to help everybody relax. Talking about challenging emotions is best done when the body is calm. Then they invite the child to describe how they feel. What does the emotion feel like? What does it smell like? How does it sound? It is helpful to use the five senses as a guide. They encourage the child to imagine their emotion as a character and give it a story. As they do, it is helpful to remind kids to continue taking deep breaths to increase their sense of calm. Next, they ask the child to close their eyes (if they are comfortable doing so) and imagine putting the emotion inside a balloon or a bubble and watching it float away. They can also be invited to imagine handing their emotion over to God.


Another helpful idea was talking through the actions before the situation happens. This way the child knows how she is expected to react when she feels angry or sad or scared. Truly, I cannot say even all adults can be that intentional about processing their own feelings, but it is so helpful to learn how to deal with it.

That child taught me a good lesson. All of us should learn to process and manage our emotions. Even if it might take years. And it was not my last time ever babysitting. But the next time I was more prepared.

About the author

Anna Gnatyshyna.jpg
Anna Gnatyshyna. Photo Anna Gnatyshyna

Anna lives in Kyiv and runs an Evangelistic Children's Club. She is a Children's Ministry Coordinator in Eurasia with the organisation OneHope. Anna studied theology and is a guest teacher at the Kyiv Theological Seminary.



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.