Helping Children with Feelings and Emotions

By: Ms Angy, Early Childhood Blog Writer

Feeling Wheel Children experience many different types of emotions.  It can be a challenge for them to express how they feel or even recognize how someone else may be feeling.  In the classroom, we do many different interventions to help children identify and cope with their feelings.  When it comes to the feeling of anger, we have introduced the Turtle Technique.  We present to the children, “Tucker.”  Tucker is a puppet that also has a story, which we can read aloud.  The story talks about  when Tucker use to get mad he would yell, kick, and sometimes hit.  Tucker’s friends did not like it when he did those things.  Tucker then found a better way to deal with his anger, the Turtle Technique.  Tucker would stop what he was doing, tuck into his shell, take three deep breaths, and come out with a solution or a better way to do things.  We often read the story, practice the technique and use Tucker for a guide.  The children who would get frustrated or mad began to use this technique.  Some children would just get Tucker to hold to help calm them down.

Since TACSEI (Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention http://www.challengingbehavior.org/ ), we talk more about our feelings in the classroom.  We have posted pictures of all different types of feelings throughout the room, not just the happy faces but the sad or mad faces too.  Feeling charts have been used for children to help identify and show the adults in the room how they are feeling if they do not have the words to express themselves.  We teach the children feeling words such as confused, excited, disappointed, silly, surprised, proud, calm, curious, uncomfortable, and relieved, to help them label and identity many different types of feelings beyond the basic mad, sad, and happy.  From the article, Teaching Your Child to Identify and Express Emotions, The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning states, “Sometimes children express their emotions in ways that are problematic.  Your child might cry when frustrated or throw toys when angry.  Here are some different ways you can teach your child to act on feelings:

  • Ask for help
  • Solve problems with words
  • Say it, don’t do it (say “I am mad” instead of throwing toys)
  • Tell a grown-up
  • Take a deep breath
  • Describe what you are feeling
  • Think of a different way to do it
  • Relax and try again
  • Walk away
  • Ask for a hug

For more articles and information about helping children with emotions or more on the Turtle Technique-Turker, please print out and read: http://www.soesd.k12.or.us/files/tuckerturtle.pdf

What are some ways you can help your child cope with their emotions?

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