Helping Children Identify Their Feelings

Children, like grownups, go through a wide range of emotions. Their emotions range from excitement, nervousness, sadness, jealousy, fear, worry, anger, and embarrassment.

Most young children lack the language and skills necessary to express their emotions. They find alternative means of expressing themselves such as through their faces, bodies, actions, and play.

Their inappropriate, physical, or problematic behavior may be an expression of their feelings. Learning to recognize, name, and control one’s emotions is a lifelong process that begins at birth.

Children should be taught effective strategies for dealing with negative feelings. They acquire the skills necessary through relationships with significant adults, such as their parents, caregivers, and grandparents.

As a parent, you play a crucial role in guiding your child toward self-awareness and responsible decision-making.

Helping your kids become emotionally intelligent will assist them in all aspects of their lives, from academics to careers to personal relationships to friendships. It will also go a long way toward preventing power struggles and tantrums.

Ways of helping your children identify their feelings

Being a role model

First and foremost, this is a rule that all parents need to understand. When it comes to showing feelings, you should set a positive example. There’s a connection between how you move and look and what you say that needs consideration.

You may teach your kids to express themselves clearly and calmly without name-calling or physical confrontation.

The two extremes are ‘I feel glad when you clean your bedroom without supervision and ‘It makes me unhappy when you dump items on the floor.’

Naming the emotions

Understanding feelings requires giving them names. This is because that’s the only way to identify them. For instance, if you notice your child’s expression darkening, you might ask him if he would like to discuss it.

Keep in mind that it is equally crucial to help the child recognize the emotions that make him happy.

Use of visual aids

It’s a good idea to hang photos of different emotions in your kid’s room. This will help them get a head start on learning about them. If your child is small or has trouble identifying his feelings, posting a visual aid in your child’s bedroom can be helpful.

However, if you have older children, simply keeping the pictures on hand and asking them to point to the feeling they are experiencing at the time will suffice.

Non-verbal communication

Give your kid a chance to learn about non-verbal communication as much as possible. For instance, when your child sees a happy face, you can have a conversation about how that individual should feel.

The same goes for when they see an unhappy or annoyed look. Remind your child that their body language is telling you that they are angry and that talking about it will help you both feel better.

Resolution of conflict

Teach your kid the proper way to deal with conflicts, particularly when times get tough. You can put yourself in challenging real-world circumstances and play out potential solutions in a simulated environment. You will be well-equipped to handle such challenges when they arise.

Drawing emotions

When children are having trouble putting their emotions into words, they can turn to draw as an alternative form of expression. All forms of artistic expression—literature, music, and the visual arts—serve as valuable outlets for kids’ bottled-up emotions.

Your child can learn to understand his feelings and what he wants to say at a given time, which is the first step toward correct expression.

What does identifying feelings appear at different ages?

3–4 years

Giving names to feelings like “joyful” and “unhappy”

Describing their feelings using language, “I get a good feeling when I pet the puppy.”

They have distinct ways of showing anger and happiness.

They will experiment different methods of expressing feelings and taking note of the reactions of those around them.

4-5 years

Finding and starting to use regulating methods with the help of adults independently.

They recognize that varying degrees of stimulation can produce varying degrees of emotional experience (e.g., the feeling of annoyance in contrast with rage).

Investigating the possibility of experiencing many feelings simultaneously.

5-6 years

They start to feel more complicated feelings, such as trust and anxiety.

They recognize that their emotions fluctuate during the day.

They learn a contextually-relevant language for expressing a range of feelings.

Realize increased self-reliance and independence in selecting and implementing strategies for emotional control and expressing such strategy.

How to assist your child with emotional regulation

  • A youngster can relax and practice self-care through mindful coloring. It’s a welcome break from the tension and distraction of the stressful scenario. By doing so, they direct their attention inward, where it belongs, and gain control over their reaction.
  • Help your child understand and manage their feelings by teaching them appropriate emotional vocabulary and language. Understanding the feelings of others is facilitated by the act of labeling one’s own.
  • A youngster can benefit from mindful breathing and meditation to deal with stressful situations or control their feelings when they feel out of control.
  • Take a deep breath and put on some relaxing tunes
  • Assist them in transforming negative thoughts into positive words. For instance, “This is hard for me to do” for “I can achieve anything I put effort into.”


It’s important for kids to learn that it’s okay to share their emotions. They should have plenty of time to process their feelings and act accordingly. As a parent, you can have a role in this area by modeling appropriate ways for your child to share their feelings in a variety of settings.

You can discuss emotions and methods of dealing with them while grocery shopping, during a play date, or even at the dinner table. Your kids will have opportunities to identify and manage their feelings in social contexts as a result of the actions and reactions that occur in the various scenarios.

Your kids will develop the skills they need to manage their feelings on their own far more quickly if they are given many opportunities to do so.

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