Normalise talking about feelings with your children, Princess of Wales urges parents

·3 min read
Princess of Wales - Kensington Palace
Princess of Wales - Kensington Palace

The Princess of Wales has urged parents to “normalise” talking about emotions with their children as a way of encouraging them to discuss their mental health and well-being.

She said more needed to be done to help parents and carers open up about their own and their children’s emotional lives without feeling negatively judged for doing so.

The Princess was speaking during a meeting with Richard Walker, the executive chairman of Iceland supermarket, about the crucial role that businesses can play in building a “supportive and nurturing world” around children and those who care for them.

She praised the frozen product giant’s new initiative of displaying a series of in-store emojis showing different emotions, designed to help children and parents discuss how they feel.

The princess said: “That’s really inspiring: normalising those emotions, giving your customers and your employees the OK to talk about those emotions in the first place.”

During a tour of Iceland’s food warehouse in Aylesbury, she told Mr Walker: “A lot of parents we hear time and time again feel judged, and often in the spaces where they spend the most time, such as supermarkets. There’s other members of the community there, feeling like they’re judging them and the patience part comes into it - ‘Please be understanding’.”

iceland emojis
iceland emojis

In a film of their meeting released on Saturday, the Princess said there were signs of a welcome shift in attitudes, with “more people now talking about mental health”.

She said: “It is becoming less stigmatised. There’s obviously more work we need to do. The next part of the challenge is how we talk about it, what are the types of conversations that need to happen, that don’t over-medicalise our emotional world but that normalises it.

“My hope would be that more businesses follow suit and have things like emoji posters so we can build a more compassionate and empathetic society.”

Mr Walker said he hoped initiatives like the in-store emojis would tap into young children’s language to help “unlock a dialogue” between them and their parents about their emotions.

The film release followed the launch of her Business Taskforce for Early Childhood, aimed at helping transform the way in which society prioritises and supports children in their earliest years.

She said it was vital that businesses recognise the importance of nurturing children at an early age in order to develop the skills needed in their future roles as adults.

“These different skills: the creativity, the collaboration, the critical thinking, the flexibility, the resilience - these are the things you hear time and time again that businesses are looking for and it’s really interesting seeing how, if you work back, so often the foundations of those skills are built in the earliest years of our lives,” said the Princess.

During her meeting at Iceland, the Princess praised the store’s focus on supporting customers who are struggling to make ends meet.

She said: “It’s really important that all of us are supporting the most vulnerable in our community, in particular now when they are struggling. Community support is needed now more than ever.”

The creation of the Business Taskforce for Early Childhood follows the launch of Shaping Us, a long-term campaign spearheaded by the Princess aimed at highlighting the role everyone in society has in building a nurturing world around children and those who care for them.