Top 14 Activities to Improve Emotional Regulation Skills In Children

Emotional Regulation Skills are essential to succeed in real life. Every child was born with several emotions. A child’s feelings include interest, happiness, sadness, fear, surprise, anger, pleasure, contempt, disgust, and self-worth. He starts to express his emotions from early childhood by crying, smiling, and seeing.

Emotional Regulation Skills
Emotional Regulation Skills

Importance: Parents are the first effective teacher who plays an influential role in a child’s emotional regulation. They teach the children how they express their emotions in different situations.

Let the child show his love and anger. Respect the child’s emotions when he starts to express his feelings.

The child starts to cry when he feels hungry and smiles when he feels happiness. Preschool emotional expressions are pretty complex. A child tries to send a compelling message by smiling and crying when he requires basic needs.

What are Emotions?

The term emotion is complex and challenging to define. Here are many definitions of emotions are found in the literature, but some important descriptions are mentioned below:

Peggy A. Thoits says, “Emotions involve: (a) appraisals of a situational stimulus or context, (b) changes in physiological or bodily sensations, (c) the free or inhibited display of expressive gestures, and (d) a cultural label applied to specific constellations of one or more of the first three Components.”[1]

Pamela M. Cole writes, “Emotions are a kind of radar and rapid response system, constructing and carrying meaning across the flow of experience. Emotions are the tools by which we appraise experience and prepare to act in situations”.[2]

After discussing the definition of emotion, I would like to discuss emotion regulation. Positive emotional regulation enhances learning performance, well-being and enriches the personal relationship in childhood.

What is Emotional Regulation?

Emotion regulation is defined as an “individual’s ability to respond to environmental stimuli with a range of emotions in a controlled manner” (Panfile and Laible 2012). It is also described that “emotion regulation is the ability to gauge the appropriate level and range of emotional response to a given situation.” [1][3]

Emotion regulation is an ability that helps children to express their emotions in the appropriate ways. Effective emotion coaching is an important job for parents and teachers to improve emotional regulation skills.

What is Emotion Coaching?

Emotion Coaching provides directions that how children manage their own emotions in difficult situations. Emotion Coaching is defined as “Emotion Coaching is about helping children and young people understand the different emotions they experience, why they occur, and how to handle them” (Gottman, 1997).[2][4]

Emotional Regulation Activities for Children

Parents should understand the way to emotional expression in the preschool period. Because they are the first respondent of their children during the time of anxiety, pain, and distress and should know how they can regulate their children’s emotions. There are top 14 tips that help parents develop emotional skills in children.

1. Self Respect

Self-respect provides greater emotional resilience and relates to psychological well-being in childhood. Provide the environment in which the child must feel that he is most respectable and honorable at home. Give value to your child and appreciate the child’s work.

However, a child’s lack of self-respect at home may lead to negative emotions in children, such as shame, guilt, regret, and blame.

2. Build the Self-Concept 

Self-concept is also called how children view themselves. Try to build a strong belief in children to complete their tasks. A child should believe in his abilities that he can achieve the goal. Parents and teachers must create activities to build up self-concept in children.

3. Positive Feedback

Parents and teachers should give positive feedback to their children. The positive feedback provides the emotional power to complete the educational task. Negative feedback may lead to developing negative emotions in childhood. So always encourage your child when he starts to do something better.

4. Play With Toys

Children love to play with toys and feel pleasure during play. Play is an important source to develop positive emotions in children. Parents must buy the toys for their children, and those toys should be simple, hygienic, and safe for children. Play with toys also helps to improve motor skills, concentration, and social skills.

5. Outdoor Trips and Visits

Outdoor activities and trips provide a lot of happiness, and children start to express their emotions during outdoor tips. Take some time to visit the garden, zoo, and Public Park with your children. These trips help the child to share beautiful feelings with parents and friends.

6. Respect the Child Interests

Parents should respect the child’s eating habits and interests. Mother can ask the child what you like to eat at dinner. The child starts to express his feelings by telling his favorite food such as chicken, beef, and vegetable.

7. Loving Behavior 

 Family love has had a tremendous positive impact on a child’s emotional development. Parents should show their love for children verbally and substantively. Provide the environment at home in which the child should consider himself that he is the most beloved one at home.

8. Become the Role Model 

Parents and teachers are the most influential coaches who regulate children’s emotions in different situations. Their behavior and actions have had significant effects on shaping children’s behaviors. It is important to understand that children observe the parents/teacher’s behaviors/actions and try to follow them in childhood

9. Awareness About Emotions

Create a situation in which a child becomes more aware and understands his own emotions. Parents give the name of specific emotion then guide the child on how he should respond positively in the preschool period. They support the children in the verbal expression of emotion positively.

10. Gaudiness to Manage the Emotions

Gaudiness plays a significant role in the regulation of emotions in early childhood. Guide the children, particularly during difficult and conflict situations. Provide the opportunities and guidance that help the children manage their feelings appropriately.

11. Encourage Positive Emotions

Let the child express prosocial and positive behavior. Discourage the child when he says antisocial and negative emotions, which can hurt others. Parents/teachers should try to control antisocial emotions constructively. They don’t get aggressive during controlling antisocial behavior.

12. Psychological Support and Treatment

Sometimes emotional problems are related to psychological issues such as PDD, ASD ODD. It is also well documented the sexual abuse also leads to many emotional disorders in children. Parents should provide counseling with psychologists or psychiatrists when they feel difficulties in the emotion regulation process.

13. Valuable Stories

Children always show interest in moral stories. Provide valuable stories that help the children learn how they handle difficult situations. Provide opportunities to watch videos and programs to help the children regulate their emotions.

14. Create Activities to Regulate the Emotion

Play is an effective way to regulate the child’s emotions. The child automatically learns how he controls emotions during play and other activities. Support the child in difficult situations during play and ask the child to use his imagination to solve the problems.

In conclusion: Positive emotional skills development plays a vital role in children’s success. The parents and school provide opportunities to improve emotional regulation skills positively.

It is essential to understand that every nation, religion, country, and society has its own social and cultural values. The child’s emotional expression should be embedded with those cultural and social values in which he lives.


[1] Peggy A. Thoits, The Sociology of Emotions, Department of Sociology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, Annul. Rev. Social. 1989. 15:317-42.

[2] Pamela M. Cole, Sarah E. Martin, and Tracy A. Dennis, Emotion Regulation as a Scientific Construct: Methodological Challenges and Directions for Child Development Research, Child Development, March/April 2004, Volume 75.

[3] Hannah Mills and Elizabeth McCarroll, Emotion regulation in early childhood, Texas Child Care Quarterly/summer 2012 / Volume 36, NO. 1 / ChildCarequarTerly.Com.

[4] Abigail Rolston, BA & Elizabeth Lloyd- Richardson, Ph.D., What is emotion Regulation.

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