Mother and younger sibling comforting a sad teenager

Helping Kids Understand Feelings

Showing your kids how to express themselves, handle emotions and get along with others.

There’s a lot to learn when you’re a kid. Patience and problem solving. Paying attention. How to make decisions and understand emotions. How to be kind. Children learn lessons like these every day by watching and listening to those around them.

When you help your children learn to understand feelings, you help them feel safe and valued and help them develop the confidence to solve their own problems. You may even spend less time managing misbehavior. Kids who learn how to express and manage their feelings often do better in school and have stronger friendships. Children’s social and emotional competence can also go on to shape how they treat others and deal with challenges as adults.

 

Hear from parents

Helping kids understand their feelings gives them the skills to communicate with the world around them and really feel more valued and heard.”

-Javin

Helping Kids Understand Feelings can look like…

One child sharing a toy truck with another child

Teaching kids to share

Two girls having a conversation

Encouraging kids to solve problems

Child expressing happiness and sadness

Listening when kids express their emotions

Ask Yourself…

There are no right answers. Thinking about these questions can help you understand your family’s strengths.

When kids get mad, frustrated or start yelling, is it hard not to respond in the same way? Flip to Learn More
It can be hard to stay calm when your child is having a meltdown. But kids rely on parents’ self-control when dealing with their own strong feelings. When you stay calm, it can calm them. Children also learn by watching and copying your behavior. When you soothe them, they learn to expect and give comfort. When you show others kindness, kids learn to do the same. And when you become impatient or yell, children mirror that, too. Managing your emotions and letting your actions speak for you is one of the best ways to guide your child’s behavior. Back to Question
Do you know a variety of strategies for helping your child understand and manage their emotions? Flip to Learn More
Very young children, even babies, learn how to recognize feelings. When they’re upset and you soothe them, they learn to expect and give comfort. Providing children with a comforting routine at bedtime, giving them a toy to cuddle when they need to calm down, or pointing out the emotions of a child’s favorite book characters are all ways to help little ones understand and cope with feelings. As kids grow, they can become more skilled at identifying and communicating emotions and managing feelings. Teaching them calming strategies like slow breathing and positive self-talk can help. Back to Question
Do you provide your child with opportunities to build social skills? Flip to Learn More
Children learn many important things about feelings and behavior from their parents every day. But having the time and opportunity to learn social skills from other children is equally important. Kids learn through play, so spending free time with other children in their age range helps teach them how to get along with others. In adolescence, time spent socializing can help teens learn the subtle skills they will need to successfully interact in the adult world. Back to Question
Next Question

Helping Kids Understand Feelings happens little by little

Every day is full of teachable moments. Help your child learn how to express and manage their feelings with lots of positive attention. Children learn best by watching what people around them say and do, so model the behaviors you’d like to see in your child.

Try this:

The 5 Strengths are also called Protective Factors.

The language some people use to describe the 5 Strengths may be different. They are also called Protective Factors. But no matter which words you use, research has shown how important these strengths are for families as they navigate the challenges and joys of daily life.

Helping Kids Understand Feelings

Social & Emotional Competence of Children

Share Your Strength

Tell us about the strategies you used to grow stronger during a challenging time for your family.  By sharing, you might help another family get ideas.  And together we can all become stronger.  By submitting a story, all or part of it may be posted on this website. See .

The Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board may use or share my story or any part of it for public awareness and educational purposes. I also understand the Prevention Board may edit my story for length or content. By granting my permission, I release the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, its employees, directors, and agents from any liability related to the disclosure or use of my story or any part of my story.

Woman and man sharing their parenting expertise

Share Your Strength

Tell us about the strategies you used to grow stronger during a challenging time for your family.  By sharing, you might help another family get ideas.  And together we can all become stronger.  By submitting a story, all or part of it may be posted on this website. See .

The Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board may use or share my story or any part of it for public awareness and educational purposes. I also understand the Prevention Board may edit my story for length or content. By granting my permission, I release the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, its employees, directors, and agents from any liability related to the disclosure or use of my story or any part of my story.

Thank you!

Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your family. We are unable to publish every story and stories will not appear immediately after being submitted. Stories may be edited for length and context. Also, stories may be incorporated into other Prevention Board resources and materials. Questions? Learn more about our

The Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board may use or share my story or any part of it for public awareness and educational purposes. I also understand the Prevention Board may edit my story for length or content. By granting my permission, I release the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, its employees, directors, and agents from any liability related to the disclosure or use of my story or any part of my story.

We appreciate you taking the time to tell us about your family. We are unable to publish every story and stories will not appear immediately after being submitted. Stories may be edited for length and context. Also, stories may be incorporated into other Prevention Board resources and materials.
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Strong families are important.

Strong families support their friends, their communities and future generations.

Explore the 5 Strengths