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Name The Emotion

Age Range
3-7 yrs
Setup Time
No set-up time!
Setup Location
Indoor / Outdoor

Young children deal with many of the same emotions adults do. Children get angry, sad, frustrated, nervous, happy, or embarrassed, but they often do not have the words to talk about how they are feeling. Instead, they sometimes act out these emotions in very physical and inappropriate ways.

Improved emotion regulation leads to benefits in all areas of a child's life. Children who are able to regulate their emotions pay more attention, work harder, and achieve more in school. They are better able to resolve conflicts with their peers and show lower levels of physiological stress. They are also better behaved -- and more caring towards others. (These conclusions are based, especially, on research by John Gottman and his colleagues on the benefits of parental "emotion coaching.")

Emotion regulation means being able to think constructively about how to cope with feelings. We want children to have their feelings, but not be overwhelmed by them -- to feel discouraged but not give up; to feel anxious but not stay home; and to be excited but not get so carried away in their enthusiasm that they use poor judgment in making decisions.

Help your child recognize his emotions by naming them. He can easily be overwhelmed by anger, fear, or sadness. Giving him names for his feelings makes them less scary.


  1. At any opportunity, bend down to your child's eye level and call out the emotion he/ she is likely experiencing

  2. Use statements like; "I think you are feeling upset and angry. Maybe you are hungry and tired"

  3. In other 'normal' moments play the game of 'guessing' by making different facial expressions and asking your child to guess the emotion

Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.