Emotions + Preschoolers

by Amy on April 28, 2009

Social-Emotional Skills for Preschoolers: Part 5

Regulating Emotions


We’ve made it to the last of this five-part series on social-emotional skills for preschoolers! Today I’m going to focus on the up-and-down emotional world of preschoolers. During this time in their development, preschoolers are learning how to express what they are feeling and what to do with those emotions – what a big job! Here are some ideas to help you support your preschooler in this process:

Honor your child’s emotions, while being clear about inappropriate behaviors.

Help your child identify the physical reactions our body has to different emotions — “butterflies” in our tummy when we are nervous, feeling flushed or tense when we are angry, etc.

Help your child build emotional vocabulary – the words to express the feelings. Start with happy, sad, and mad and expand to frustrated, angry, nervous, excited, proud, disappointed, etc.

Use puppets and dolls to role play everyday situations and ways to handle various emotions.

Help your child find ways to relax and calm down – deep breaths, tightening and relaxing muscles, counting slowly, humming a song, hugging a stuffed animal, etc.

Sing If You’re Happy and You Know It, choosing a new feeling for each verse.

Help your child write and illustrate a book about feelings. Try a pattern like, “When I feel sad, I like to hug my mommy.” Write and draw about a different emotion on each page.

Use your reading time to talk about how the characters are feeling. Ask questions like, “Have you ever felt that way?” or “What would you do if you felt frustrated?”

Books that are good springboards for talking about feelings:

Thanks for joining me for this whole series on social-emotional skills for preschoolers! Now, back to some art or something… :)

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