Recently in our house we have been working on becoming aware of our emotions and choosing to handle them in a positive manner. It’s a lifelong journey, to say the least… and I have to admit that I am getting as much out of exploring these subjects as my kids. But little by little the conversations and activities are paying off, for all of us.
From my experience, here are five easy ways parents can begin to help their children develop emotional control:
- Help your child gain an awareness of what they are feeling by learning to recognize faces. Danya Banya shares an artistic way to practice this skill through creating DIY Emo Dolls.
- Identifying emotions and learning what they feel like is the first step before knowing how to act. Buggy and Buddy gives another creative approach to helping children explore emotions by setting up a Feelings Center.
- Once they are aware of any unsettling feelings, offer your child a way to release negative energy such as squeezing oranges or pounding play dough – find more suggestions at Fireflies and Mudpies.
- Create a tool for your child to use when they are feeling anxious away from home as well, such as making a DIY Stress Ball (ours are pictured above) – idea and directions from A Mom With A Lesson Plan.
- Make a list of stress-relieving activities that your child can do when they are feeling upset, sad, or angry. Some items on on our list of “Activities for Calming Down” include reading books on the bed, listening to audio stories, or taking a bath. Having this list makes it easier to actively take time to cool down, then we can address the issue once the mood has lightened.
How have you helped your children become aware of their feelings, and decide what to do with them?
If you liked this post, you may enjoy more ideas on my Facebook Page or checking out my first collection of 100 Kids Activities to Build Character.
I love the idea of having an Activities for Calming Down list. That would be a really powerful resource for kids to use when they don’t feel like talking to anyone!
Thanks for including me. 🙂
Chelsea Lee Smith
Yes, it’s been helpful for me to have a few ideas to go to when we just need a change of pace. Thanks for sharing!
Such a wonderful way to teach our children to learn and express their emotions. x
I am excited to use these tools, especially for school. My son had struggles so often at school. He has a wonderful SpEd teacher this year so I think I will talk to her about the calming down list. Thank you for this post.
I found this on Pinterest.
I really like the idea of the calming down activities list, I think I’ll write one with my preschooler tomorrow!
Chelsea Lee Smith
So glad you found the post useful Elizabeth! Thanks for your comment 🙂
Hi i have a 11 year old that has alot of anger issuse especially at school have you got any calm down relax ideas for him at home or school to do….
Chelsea Lee Smith
Hi Summah, great question. As I don’t have children of that age I put the question to my Facebook readers – and will email you the responses. Good luck!
We have the same issues with our 13 year old. I would love to have ideas emailed to me if you receive some from your Facebook readers 🙂
Great ideas, especially the making a list. I’ve started teaching my kids meditation in an effort to help them learn how to calm down from the inside. Let’s call it a work in progress! I wrote about it here: http://flyingstartkids.com/2014/08/31/meditation-tools-to-manage-kids-meltdowns/
I thought my kids TRE (tension Releasing Exercises). It involves 7 simple stretch or fatigue exercises that will bring the body to a therapeutic shaking. It’s like a massage from the inside out. No memory recall to what the muscles are shaking to release. It just releases the tension that is held in the muscle. My kids love it. I’ve also taught this to many other kids & adults. If your interested in learning more is be happy to get you started and maybe it’s something you can share later with others. Dr. David Berceli developed TRE and there are certified trainers in over 100 countries. My website is TREBLISS@verizon.net
Thats an email but was wondering do you have a web page?
Chelsea Lee Smith
Sorry this is a webpage… what were you looking for?
Thanks for sharing your great ideas
My 3 (almost 4) year old daughter recently started throwing very intense tantrums, pulling her hair, kicking, uncontrollable screaming. I’m honestly not sure where this all came from. She is normally a very happy child. But recently, she just can’t seem to handle anything if it doesn’t go exactly the way she wants it to. Any advice? Should we talk to her doctor?
I had to grin at the taking a bath suggestion. We can’t whisper that one to one child. She already HAS to have one every night to settle down and sleep (so she has figured this one out) and if I EVER let her take one to calm down during the day I would have to install a bathtub in the classroom. Lol.
Thank you for the helpful suggestions and book ideas. A couple were new to us and our home requiredLOTS of extra instruction in this area.
Nathan M McTague, CPCC, CPDPE
Love these great ideas and reminders for helping kids learn about and process feelings!
At Feeleez — we think emotional education is some of the most important education of all!
Definitely sharing this one with our tribe.
Samantha, and many other parents concerned about your child’s behavior,
I have worked with children with emotional/behavioral disorders for five years and am near completion of a masters degree in psychology. From what I have learned, you can find the most answers in attachment theory and family systems. Look at the current events that have been happening in your family and see how they could have disrupted your child’s world. For example, mom gets a new job means less time with her son, sister gets a trophy and sibling feels jealous. You have to put yourself in the shoes of your children. Remember as parents the most important and crucial thing you must do for your child is to show them unconditional positive regard. Let them know you love them regardless of their achievements or abilities.
You could look up Conscious Discipline online. There is a wonderful curriculum for working with any age child. Very easy to use. Good free training videos on their website and good books too to teach emotional management. I’m a preschool teacher for special needs children. Hope this helps!
I’m a mommy to a very overly stressed and very spirited child. And I allow him to take up to 2-5 tub time bathes a day to help relieve his overwhelming outbursts he has. Plus they help with his bowl issues he has with constipation. But this is what works for him the most including story time which helps relax him before bedtime.
For a long time I could not get my son w Aspergers to do deep breathing w me to calm himself. I finally found a way–I call it blow out a candle. By telling him he couldn’t beat me and blow out the candle longer, it made it a competition and he wanted to try. I am thankful God gave me that idea!
My 15month old daughter is already expressing a lot of frustration/anger towards things like trying to put her shoes on, or being told to stop touching things she knows she’s not supposed to.
She responds with biting, hitting, yelling, throwing things or clenching her fists/body and shuddering with anger.
Lots of the advice/resources out there are aimed at older toddlers/kids – do you know where I could find advice on helping a child this young to identify/deal with her big feelings?
Chelsea Lee Smith
I recommend checking out these two websites: http://www.janetlansbury.com and http://www.ahaparenting.com
I’m writing from Islamabad Pakistan. I just wished to Thank you. Ur website is so helpful. I have four kids youngest 5yr. old. My only regret why I hadn’t discovered ur website earlier. You are doing a Great job
I love this!! going to have fun making these tonight!! Thanks for sharing!! (*also seriously considering a feelings center and calming list*)
Ways to help children regulate their emotions.
Ramya Ravindra Barithaya
Amazing ideas to teach our children how to learn and express their emotions. Thanx u it’s helpful to me