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How to Help Your Preschool Child Understand Emotions

Posted on 05-02-2017

Helping your preschooler to understand their emotions is one of the most important things that you can do. Emotional intelligence is a huge factor in early childhood development, and “when children learn how to calm themselves down, use language to express their feelings and treat others with kindness, they are laying the foundation for future success and wellness.” (Deborah Kris)

Play games like “name that face” with your preschooler.

Give names to the feelings that they are experiencing. If you see that they are experiencing frustration, tell them what that feeling is called. The sooner they can learn to identify emotions, the sooner they can learn to regulate them. Make it fun by helping them with this craft that uses emoji to label and name different emotions. Hold up a face and ask “What is this face feeling?” This exercise will build emotional intelligence as it relates to other people as well.

Make a mood ‘o meter with your preschoolers.

It is very important to normalize emotions instead of labeling them as good or bad. With this Mood ‘O Meter, you can let your child express how they feel in a safe and judgment free environment. When they get home from school at the end of the day, help them to make a habit of setting their mood meter to match what they’re feeling. This will help them to name and understand what they’re feeling, and it will help you to understand how you can help them process their emotions.

Daniel Goleman once said, “If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

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