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5 Emotion Regulation Strategies for Kids

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Navigating your child’s emotions can be challenging, especially for parents of neurodivergent children. However, with the right emotion regulation strategies, it becomes easier to help your child understand and manage their feelings. In this post, we’ll discuss five effective strategies to assist you in this journey.

Read more: 5 Zones of Regulation Activities for Kids

1. Building an Emotion Vocabulary

Firstly, let’s talk about language. Before kids can manage their emotions, they need to understand them. In other words, a rich emotional vocabulary can be a powerful tool. By teaching your child to identify and name their feelings, you give them the keys to their emotional kingdom. For instance, they might feel frustrated, disappointed, or anxious instead of just feeling bad. Pinpointing the exact emotion can help them better comprehend what they’re experiencing and how to handle it.

Here are a few tips to help your child build their emotional vocabulary:

  • Use emotion flashcards: These can be a fun and interactive way to learn about different emotions.
  • Read books about feelings: Many children’s books explore emotions in a kid-friendly way.
  • Discuss emotions in daily life: Talk about your feelings and ask your child about theirs. This can normalize emotional discussions and help your child feel more comfortable expressing their emotions.

2. Using Apps for Emotional Learning

In this digital age, numerous apps are designed to help kids with thinking and learning differences understand and manage their emotions. These apps use engaging games and activities to teach kids about emotions and provide them with strategies to handle them effectively.


"The Goally has changed how routines work in our house and gives my son incentives to actually complete them. It has also lessened tantrums because set routines really help him." — Goally Mom
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Apps like Goally, for instance, are specifically designed to help kids learn and practice emotion regulation strategies in a fun and engaging way. One of the standout features of Goally is the Mood Tuner. This tool is specifically designed to help kids understand and manage their emotions. It uses a simple, interactive interface that allows kids to identify and express their current emotional state. By regularly checking in with the Mood Tuner, kids can become more aware of their emotions, a crucial first step in emotion regulation. But it doesn’t stop there. The Mood Tuner also provides personalized strategies to help kids manage their emotions. Whether they’re feeling anxious, angry, or just a bit off, the Mood Tuner offers practical tips and exercises to help them regain their emotional balance. In essence, it’s like having a personal emotion coach, right at their fingertips.

Get Your Free Printable Feelings Chart for Kids

3. Practicing Mindfulness

Let’s look into mindfulness. It’s a powerful tool for emotion regulation, helping kids stay present and focused rather than getting swept up in emotional turbulence. Simple mindfulness exercises, like deep breathing or focusing on sensory experiences, can help kids calm down and regain control when emotions run high.

emotion regulation strategies. A girl is doing her yoga pose with her mom.

Apps like Goally can be beneficial in teaching mindfulness to kids. With engaging activities and easy-to-follow instructions, they make mindfulness practice accessible and fun for kids. So, consider incorporating a digital tool into your child’s mindfulness routine.

4. Encouraging Expression Through Art

Art can be a wonderful outlet for kids, especially neurodivergent kids, to express their emotions. Drawing, painting, or even making a collage can help kids articulate their feelings nonverbally. Moreover, creating art can be therapeutic and calming, helping kids regulate their emotions in a fun and creative way.

Here are a few art activities that can encourage emotional expression:

  • Emotion masks: Have your child create masks representing emotions. This can help them understand and express complex feelings.
  • Color your feelings: Ask your child to assign colors to different emotions and create a painting using those colors.
  • Emotion collage: Using magazines or printed images, have your child create a collage representing their feelings.

5. Modeling Healthy Emotion Regulation

kids learn a lot from observing their parents. So, show them what healthy emotion regulation looks like. For example, verbalize your feelings when you’re feeling stressed and demonstrate how you cope with them. This can provide a practical, real-life example for your child to follow.

Modeling healthy emotion regulation can include:

  • Verbalizing your emotions: Saying things like “I’m feeling frustrated right now” can show your child that expressing their feelings is okay.
  • Demonstrating coping strategies: Show your child how you calm down when you’re upset. This might involve deep breathing, taking a walk, or listening to calming music.
  • Discussing your strategies: Talk to your child about why you’re using certain strategies and how they help you manage your emotions.

Goally | Kid’s Tablet for Building Emotional Regulation Skills

Is your child struggling with understanding and managing their emotions? Goally teaches emotional regulation skills in a fun and interactive way!

The Mood Tuner app encourages kids to look inwards and identify their feelings, helping them understand what’s going on inside. Once they’ve recognized their emotions, they can choose from a variety of exercises designed to help them self-regulate and find their balance.

To sum up, helping your child navigate their emotional world can be challenging, but with these emotion regulation strategies, it becomes a more manageable task. Remember, it’s a journey, not a race. So, be patient, supportive, and consistent. Over time, you’ll see your child grow in their ability to understand and manage their emotions, making life a little smoother for everyone.

FAQ’s About Emotion Regulation Strategies

What are emotion regulation strategies for children?
Emotion regulation strategies are techniques that help children recognize, understand, and manage their feelings effectively.

How can visual schedules aid in emotion regulation?
Visual schedules offer predictable routines, helping children anticipate and prepare for events, reducing anxiety and emotional outbursts.

Why are emotional regulation apps beneficial for kids?
Emotional regulation apps provide interactive guidance, helping kids identify their feelings and offering coping techniques in real-time.

How do rewards play a role in emotion regulation?
Rewards can reinforce positive emotional responses and behaviors, motivating children to use emotion regulation techniques consistently.

What's the connection between consistent routines and emotion regulation in children?
Consistent routines provide children with a sense of security and predictability, reducing uncertainty that can trigger emotional instability.
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