Unit 2: Feelings
Angry! Happy! Frustrated! Silly! Scared! Sad!
Every person on the planet has a range of emotions, and children’s feelings are just as real and important for them as YOUR feelings are for you.
Babies express their feelings through smiles and cries. Toddlers start to experience a greater range of feelings and, with help, can start to identify their feelings. Before children’s language and regulation skills develop, they will use their facial expressions and bodies to express their feelings. This might include crying, stomping, or even hitting. It takes time to learn how to manage feelings.
Children learn about their feelings — and how to control them — by watching their parents, grandparents, and caregivers. So remember: the kids are watching!
If you are angry with someone, it’s a good idea for you to say, “I’m angry,” and to show your child some effective ways of dealing with your anger — like taking deep breaths to relax or talking calmly to the other person to resolve the conflict. Don’t hit or use other forms of violence to express your anger; being violent when you’re angry teaches your child that violence is an acceptable way to express anger and frustration.
Make sure that you help your child to feel safe exploring and expressing all of their emotions without shame. When children feel they can come to you and share their feelings, they will continue to trust you and rely on you for emotional support.
It can take years of practice for people to learn to express big feelings and to gain the language skills necessary to express themselves verbally. Remember: All the hard work will pay off. Identifying feelings and managing emotions helps children to develop empathy and independence. It helps them learn to tolerate frustration and navigate relationships with others, now and as they grow up.
Read to Explore Feelings
Read picture books that explore the feelings to understand the big ideas of “identity and belonging.”
Read and use discussion questions, including:
- How do the characters feel? Have you ever felt that way?
- What can we do to help others who are not feeling good?
Listen to Explore Feelings
What do you do when you’re feeling angry or sad, or when you’re facing something new and scary like COVID-19? In this episode, Todd, Rainbow, and four kids discuss big feelings, where they come from, and what to do with with them.
Use our discussion guide, in English and Spanish, to explore feelings.