When I was a child I never saw any of my caregivers really cry or be sad. Any time I noticed that something was happening and I asked what it was about, they'd tell me that everything was fine and there was nothing to worry about. I was always left in confusion because I saw that there was SOMETHING but never found out what. It resulted in me not being able to name my feelings and emotions and I'd hide crying as well as didn't want to admit when I was sad.
My now almost 4-year-old daughter on the other hand is very open about her feelings. Any time she gets sad, upset or anything else she comes to me and tells me: "mommy, I'm so sad!" She's welcome to tell me whenever she's upset with me too so when I do something she doesn't like she says "hey, I'm getting frustrated!" and she'll explain why exactly. She's been doing this for a while now, pretty much since she started talking and being able to understand more of her feelings.
This should come naturally but it doesn't. Small children are so busy growing and changing that they simply can't keep up. They don't understand tons of things that are happening to them in their lives and so it's very hard for them to really get what they feel. They learn by example. If they see their parent being open and sharing their emotions and feelings, they'll do the same. They need to know that it's OK to be sad and it doesn't matter how old one is. Parents are humans too and children appreciate it very much when their parents are honest, transparent and coherent. Only then can they trust and share their own stuff knowing that they won't be ridiculed, preached or laugh at.
It's extremely important for me to make sure that my children feel comfortable sharing anything with me and so far it's been working very well for all of us. What's also important is that I'm able to share my stuff with them, even with my 3-year-old, and... she'll active listen. I can easily tell her that I'm sad or upset and she'll be there reflecting me and then she'll give me a hug.
Of course there are worse days too. Of course sometimes she can't be as honest as other times. And that's OK. It's a work in progress that never ends. If you'd like to find out how to achieve what I achieved with my daughter check out the schedule and enrollmentSchedule and enrollment page or private/online coaching page and let's work together!