How to Help your Child Understand their Emotions

My Many Colored Days

The older I get the more I love and appreciate Dr Seuss and “My Many Colored Days” is one of my personal favorites. I have read it countless times with my own kids and use it when I am teaching parents on the subject of Emotion Coaching and Self-Regulation. I recommend that they read it to their children to help them understand and deal with their emotions and how they are feeling.

I love to spark a child’s curiosity about their emotions, ignite their imaginations and really engage them in the story when I am reading to them. Asking them questions while you read can be a lovely way to do this and while reading “My Many Colored Days” I might intersperse some questions like these into it:

Red Day Horse

Mixed Up Day

It’s amazing how seeing simple, bold pictures and using questions like the ones I listed above like can help children recognize and put words their feelings, share how they are feeling and subsequently “claim” and “tame” them. Stories are a wonderful way to engage them, put things in context AND share quality time to strengthen the relationship and bond we have with our children.

Name it to Tame It

There are also many wonderful posters and images for naming emotions that can be found on-line like the ones I have selected here and I would recommend having something like this on hand to use for when your child is trying to express themselves.

Sometimes it’s easier for kids to be able to just point to an image rather than having to find the words. For the younger child, it can also help them expand their vocabulary beyond the range of the more obvious and commonly used ones. These images can also be good conversation starters for children:


The more we talk about how we are feeling, naming our emotions and modelling good self-regulation with our children the more comfortable they will feel doing the same and remember:

“All feelings are okay” – Jim Skinner

Do you have any other effective ways in which you help your child manage their emotions? I’d love to hear from you.

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