How to talk to your child about emotions


1. Start talking

Try asking your child to describe how they are feeling, and follow up with open questions about what’s happened to make them feel this way. For example; ‘Tell me about how you are feeling?’ or ‘What has happened to make you feel like this?’ Talking will help your child process their feelings and make sense of them, as well as calming them down. 

Try this: Encourage your child to consider their feelings each day, by simply asking ‘how are you feeling today?’ You could even listen to this Feeling Better song together as a prompt to start the conversation.


2. Put a label on it

Once your child has described how they are feeling help them put a label on it like Radha does in this clip. Are they feeling angry? Worried? Scared? Frustrated? Happy? Doing this will help increase their vocabulary, and make it easier to recognise the emotion the next time they experience it.

Try this: Ask your child to repeat the name of the emotion, and the feelings that go with it back to you.


3. It’s okay to feel this way

It’s important that your child knows that it’s okay to feel different emotions, even if it’s not a nice feeling. Experiencing emotions like jealousy, envy or even feeling selfish can help us learn about ourselves and other people. Reinforce to your child that we all experience challenging feelings.

Try this: When your child is feeling one of these emotions, encourage them to consider how others might feel. Playing a guessing game like the Feelings Friends in this clip can help them start to think about different emotions and what they might look like.


4. Feelings Faces

Encouraging your child to recognise different facial expressions helps them to make connections between what they’re feeling and what that might look like. A downturned mouth can be sad, an upturned one can be happy! What about excited – what does our mouth do then? What do our eyebrows do?

Try this: Get creative with this fun craft project. Spend time creating lots of different face components with your child. Then make as many faces as you can, asking your child to guess what emotion the face is feeling each time.


5. Share your stories

There are lots of complex emotions that might seem hard to describe to your child. Help them understand by giving examples of a time you felt this way. You could describe what happened to make you feel this way and share what you did to make yourself feel better.

Try this: To help your child better understand more complex emotions, watch Feeling Better together and use the episodes as a starting point for your conversations.


Try these activities to help children handle their emotions

Calm down together with these simple relaxation techniques for kids

Get creative and make a feelings tree together

All Feeling Better
Are you ready to try CBBC?