6 Ways To Teach Children How To Deal With Big Emotions

early learning

Parenting can often be challenging, especially today when we live in the most information and technology-rich era in history. Factoring in the emotions of everyone in your home can present unexpected challenges at times It’s important to teach children how to manage big emotions, especially during those early learning, preschool-age years. At this age, children begin to experience feeling emotions for the first time and as a result, they can struggle to regulate them. Here are 6 ways to teach children how to deal with big emotions:


What isn’t identified or named can’t be managed. Practice helping children identify how they are feeling. You can do this by using the “I feel, I wish, and next time” approach.

  • I feel (insert emotion here)
  • I wish (I didn’t have to brush my teeth, for example)
  • Next time we can (insert a solution)

As children are rapidly developing, learning, and absorbing they are experiencing sadness, anger, frustration, and happiness for the first time too. This means they are experiencing the physical sensations of emotions in their tiny bodies for the first time too.

Help them learn to name those emotions as they are happening or as soon as you can following an outburst.

Create a Calm Routine

At home or at the grocery store, you can create a routine to help children calm down when they experience big emotions. This routine and adherence to it allow children to feel safe.

At home, this can look like creating a calm space where a child can go to cool down. This space can be away from the rest of the family and include things like books or music. Away from home, this can look like simply creating a space where the child can express the emotions they are learning to identify.

Over time, children may learn to take themselves to the created calm space or that they can name their emotions on their own.

Practice Coping Mechanisms

Coping mechanisms are beneficial for all of us, but especially for early learning, preschool children. These can include:

  • Counting to 10
  • Taking slow, deep breaths
  • Body movement (taking a short walk)

Ask For Help

Even adults can be overtaken by sudden, unexpected, and big emotions. Help teach children how to manage emotions by asking for help.

As preschool-aged children are learning about emotions–how to identify them and what to do, it’s important to let them know it’s okay to ask for help. This way they feel safe to bring big emotions to you when they are young children and later as teenagers as situations move past the randomized frustration of toddler-sized emotions.

Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries for children learning to manage big emotions can sound a bit harsh on the surface. How can children understand boundaries?

Boundaries for preschool and early learning-aged children serve to establish behaviors more than anything. Teach children what types of behavior are acceptable and unacceptable as they are experiencing their emotions.

As emotions show up as physical sensations in the body, it’s common for children to act out with behaviors like hitting or sometimes biting. Set boundaries by establishing that these behaviors are not acceptable when we feel angry, sad, etc. Be sure to give examples of behaviors that are acceptable too.

Be a Role Model

To teach children how to manage big emotions, it’s important that these coping skills are modeled by the adults around them too. Practice naming your own emotions, name boundaries, and utilizing coping mechanisms in front of children. This way they can see emotional management in practice too.

Childcare At Providence Children’s Academy Can Help

We are committed to providing the best early education choice for you and your family. We are family-owned and operated, and we know how important providing an environment for your child to manage their emotions can be. We offer VPK, after-school care, and summer programs with small class sizes and comprehensive curricula. Contact us today at 954-570-6914 to schedule a tour of our facility – we can’t wait to meet you!

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