The children who have so much trouble behaving in school often need help developing emotional skills. Although many of us understand the importance of social skills, we don’t always understand the role that emotional skills play in children being successful in school.
Here are some of the skills that you can teach the children who are finding it hard to behave:
- Labeling Emotions. Help children to understand the difference between various feelings, and teach them the vocabulary to help them express themselves. You can do this by labeling feelings throughout the day. “I’m so happy that it’s sunny enough to go outside today.” “Matthew, your face looks sad right now. What’s that about?” “Meghan, I know you are angry at Julissa, but we don’t hurt each other in our class. Let’s talk about it.”
- Emotion Charts. Use graphics and photos to help the children learn to read emotions on other’s faces. Often children who have challenging behavior misinterpret others’ feelings and have trouble responding appropriately. The Center for the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning has excellent pdf files to print out:
- Children’s Books that Highlight Emotions. Reading stories or picture books that focus on feelings can help you teach emotional skills while you also focus on literacy. Here are a few good choices:
Glad Monster, Sad Monster: A Book About Emotions – Ed Emberley & Anne Miranda
The Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister
Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day – Jamie Lee Curtis
The Way I feel – Janan Cain
Feelings to Share from A to Z – Todd and Peggy Snow
- You can also download ready-made lesson plans for a variety of children’s books that focus on social and emotional skills from the
These strategies can be combined with other strategies for teaching children to calm down. This will help all children begin to regulate their emotions. These need to be done on a regular basis throughout the day until these “feeling” activities become second nature to the children. Many children will also need to combine these emotional skills activities with social-skills teaching to help them learn how to function as part of your classroom community.
Please share in the comments any other ideas you have for teaching children emotional skills!