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10 Effective Emotional Regulation Activities For Your Little Ones

emotional regulation activities

Children have a natural tendency to feel a lot of emotions. These emotions are caused by different factors, like relationships with other children, what they are watching on TV, and the things they have been playing with. The problem is that children do not have the expressive language to articulate their feelings, nor do they have the ability to manage their emotions themselves. This lack of the ability to regulate their own emotions can cause big problems in their lives. For example, it may lead them to lash out at people or break something valuable in frustration.

As a parent, it is your duty to help your child regulate his emotions. You have to teach them how to control their feelings in a way that is safe for both themselves and those around them. By teaching your children effective emotional regulation and management skills, you are helping to build the foundation of their emotional stability. Without these skills, it can be very difficult for children to cope with stressful situations when they are older.

Emotional Regulation: What Is It?

Emotional regulation is the ability to manage your emotional reactions, feelings, and behavior. Many of the emotions that children have are caused by being around others, such as when they see a loved one. When little ones learn how to regulate their emotions, they are able to stay calm in social situations without making a scene or causing a conflict. Helping children who haven’t developed self-regulation skills at the typical age is the goal of every parent.

Here at Baby Steps Daycare, we give importance to helping kids develop emotional regulation skills. It is also something every parent should be focusing their time on. We recognize that kids have the potential to become great and responsible adults, and effective emotional regulation is a tool that can be used to help them get there. 

One way to develop emotional regulation in your child is to teach them effective ways to calm themselves down. You can do many emotional regulation activities with your little ones that will help them learn how to regulate their emotions. These activities work best if practiced when your child is not in a situation where emotions are running high, such as before bed or when they are already calm and happy.

The Benefits of Emotional Regulation

child social skills

Aside from helping kids stay calm in social situations without making a scene or causing a conflict. There are other benefits that come with learning emotional regulation skills. These benefits can include:

1. It helps Improve Self-Confidence – The ability to control your emotions can help you build your self-confidence. This is because when you can control your feelings, you control how the people around you react to your actions.

2. It Improves Your Ability to Make Good Decisions – Emotional regulation can help you make good decisions when they are needed. Since emotions often cloud judgment, having the ability to regulate them can help clear up confusion during decision making.

3. It helps your child be social – Being social is a very important part of life. As such, having the ability to regulate emotions is an important way you can develop social skills as a kid.

4. It Increases Your Emotional Intelligence – Emotional regulation can help build your child’s emotional intelligence as well. It happens because when you are able to control your feelings, you are able to listen and observe your emotions without being affected by them.

How To Develop Your Little One’s Emotional Regulation Abilities?

One effective way is by exposing your child to meaningful activities that can help them get the hang of dealing with their emotions. 

There are three important steps to healthy emotional regulation in kids: naming emotions, finding the source, and managing them appropriately. We will explore each step and provide you with some emotional regulation activities for kids that you can play with your little ones. Hopefully, you’ll start seeing improvements soon! 

Emotional Regulation Activities for Kids

Naming Emotions

naming emotions

The hardest part of regulating their emotions for many kids is knowing when they are getting upset or angry. Naming the emotions that are affecting you can help you understand what is happening, which will help you become more in control of your actions.

Here are the activities you can do with your child to help them name their emotions.

1. Body Scan

When kids go through emotional trauma, it can be hard to identify wrong. Sometimes they may not even know when they are getting angry or upset. To help your child get closer to identifying and understanding their feelings, you should give them a body scan activity. In this activity, you can have your little one tell you where they feel pain and discomfort in their body. You can then discuss the possible emotions that are making them uncomfortable with them.

2. Act it Out

Children might benefit from acting out various emotions like a game of charades. To do this activity, you can have your child act out how they feel and guess if they are happy, angry, upset, or scared. It can help children relate their emotions to specific movements and actions.

3. Talk it out

When kids have trouble identifying their emotions, you should describe what is making them upset. You can teach your child the name of their emotions like you would on any other vocabulary word. This way, they will learn what emotions are, making it easier to identify them.

Finding the Emotional Source

child making journal

After your child has named their feelings and identified an emotion, they will need to figure out where these feelings came from. When kids know how their emotions started, they can understand what needs to be done to manage them properly. The source of their feelings can be in the environment they are in or even a memory affecting them emotionally.

Here are the activities you can do to help your child find the emotional source of their feelings.

1. Have Your Child CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Games

This activity can be done with your little one in a safe environment. It’s important that you are close to your child when they are playing this game since there are some triggers that might trigger your child to get upset. Try to find some CBT games that will help them identify the different emotions that they may be experiencing and how these feelings can affect their lives.

2. Practice Journaling

This activity is very simple, but it will help your child take note of what has started to make them feel upset or angry, so they can learn how to manage their emotions and emotions better in the future. When they make a journal, it will help them think more clearly and also help them understand how their actions affect other people around them.

3. Learn to HALT

Kids can learn how to control their emotions by learning how to “HALT” (Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, and Tiredness). Before a child continues with any undesirable behaviors, your child should first check to see if he is hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. They will learn that if they are not feeling any of these emotions, they should stop whatever they are doing and take a break. This will help them figure out why they feel the way they are, and it can help them make better decisions in the future.

Managing Emotions Appropriately

children run

When kids have figured out their emotions and where those feelings came from, it is time for them to learn how to manage their emotions. When kids know how to deal with their feelings, they are able to express themselves in a positive way and feel better about themselves.

These emotional regulation activities can help your child understand how to manage their emotions in a healthy manner.

1. Work Out the Extra Energy

When kids are upset, they have a lot of extra energy to go somewhere. They can do exercises like running, pushing ups, or even jumping jacks. These exercises can help your child release the extra energy they may have while upset to feel better.

2. Practice Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises can help your child calm down when feeling overly emotional. You can have your child practice a deep breath through the nose and out through the mouth, or have him practice taking three deep breaths while counting to ten. These exercises will help your little one learn how to take control of their emotions from the inside out.

3. Learn a New Hobby

When your child feels like they need to do something but doesn’t know what that something is, you should encourage them to do some hobby or activity that will get their mind off what is making them upset. It can be anything from rock climbing or art activities for kids.

Final Thoughts

When kids know how to control their emotions, they are better able to express themselves in a more positive way, have better relationships with other people, and are overall happier individuals. If your child has trouble managing his emotions or communicating what he is feeling, help them by considering these emotional regulation activities.

Here at NY Baby Steps, we understand how hard it can be to raise a young child. Some parents aren’t sure what they can do to help their children learn effective emotional control, while others want to make sure that their children are happy and as healthy as possible. We hope this article has been helpful for you. And keep on trying! Every single day can be a better day, no matter how bad it may seem. Good luck! If you have questions, you can contact us by sending an email to babystepsny@gmail.com or at 347-960-8334 for Forest Hills and 347-644-5528 for Rego Park. We’re always happy to hear from you!