Just like adults, children need to develop strategies for managing their emotions, so that they can build social-emotional skills. When children are more socially and emotionally aware and skilled, they can more effectively navigate relationships, calm down and problem solve when challenges arise.
But unlike many adults, it can be difficult for children to recognize and understand emotions in themselves and others without adult support. The process of calming down when upset and using words to describe feelings and address challenges requires a lot of practice. It also requires a lot of adult support. When adults provide support and explanations, it helps children understand what they can do to manage their feelings. Children who learn how to understand emotions in themselves and others are better able to regulate their own responses to strong emotions.
Helping children to identify and label emotions is an important first step. Many preschoolers do not yet have the vocabulary to identify feeling words like angry or frustrated, or have the skills to “read” facial cues or to interpret body language. Adults support children’s social-emotional development when they label and talk about emotions.
Support children’s emotional understanding:
Support children’s self-regulation and problem-solving skills: