Make your "mirror" more useful
I've long had the sense that it is probably more helpful to children, when trying to reflect their feelings, to say "You feel sad," for instance, rather than "I know you feel sad." Today I figured out why!
When we say "You feel sad," we are telling. When we just reflect the feeling back to the person, by starting our statement with "you," we are showing our understanding. It is only by showing children empathy and understanding that they are able to develop these qualities themselves. They need to have the experience of being understood, not just be told about it. We know our actions are far more potent than our words. Now I figured out how to apply this principle to our mirror listening too.
Try it and see what you think. Is there a difference in the child's response? In your feelings? In your relationship? Let us know!