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Managing Emotions and Feelings

Small children, like preschoolers and kindergartners, often have trouble controlling their emotions. Because kids of this age tend to be very self-centered, they don't understand that the entire world doesn't feel the same way that they do.

Child Emotions

Helping our kids manage their emotions helps them learn empathy and self-control. There is a fine line between feeling an emotion and letting that emotion take control. Most young kids can understand this simple explanation. Always validate your child's emotions, but help her understand that those emotions shouldn't take over her life. Kids feel good when they are able to manage and control their own emotions in an acceptable way. Help your kids manage their emotions by identifying them, "owning" them, and controlling them.

Here's a formula that might help you talk to your kids about their feelings and emotions.

  • What do I feel? Am I angry, sad, afraid, confused?
  • Why do I feel this way? Did I lose a race, have an argument with a friend?
  • I understand that these are my feelings, and I understand why I feel this way.
  • I am the boss of my emotions; they are not the boss of me.
  • It's OK to feel sad, upset, afraid, angry, and even mean, sometimes.
  • Feeling bad emotions doesn't last forever.
  • Have them point to an emotion on a chart of feelings and identify how they are feeling today
  • It's my job to think about the way I feel.
  • I should talk about my emotions; I should not keep them bottled up inside.

And, here's a formula you can use to help your kids talk about their emotions:

  • Talk to someone about the way you feel. Tell your mom and dad how you feel.
  • When you are upset, take a break and think about why you are upset.
  • After you take a break, tell the other person why you are upset.
  • It's not always easy to talk about emotions, but it helps other people if they know how we feel.
  • Identifying your emotions and talking about them, helps you control them and solve problems.
  • Talking to someone about how you feel can help you feel better.

Use these formulas to help your preschooler or kindergartner identify and manage her emotions. Next time she feels a strong emotion, she can talk to you about it and learn how to work with you to clear the air.