Children’s feelings come in all shapes and sizes. Look for signs that children are struggling with big feelings like stress, fear, shame, anger, sadness, and frustration:

  • Sudden yelling or crying
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Unusual clinging
  • Hitting
  • Eating more or eating less than usual
  • Smiling or laughing less often
  • Having new fears
  • Bed wetting

Help children to open up about their feelings by:

  • Reminding them that all feelings are okay
  • Sharing some of your own feelings with them
  • Naming the emotions (“It looks like you might be feeling sad/scared/lonely…”)

It can be difficult for children to talk about feelings in the middle of a challenging moment. Try these strategies:

  • Ask kids to stop what they are doing, put their hands on their tummies, and slowly take three deep breaths.
  • Pause to blow up a “calm-down balloon.” Hand them a pretend balloon and ask them to “fill” it with big breaths. Then they can pretend to “release” it into the air.
  • Ask them to take a break to smell a pretend a birthday cake and blow out the candles. This will help them with calming breaths in through the nose, out through the mouth. Try it together!