Children experience a variety of emotions daily. But noticing, understanding and knowing how to cope with emotions is not something kids are born with! As adults, we can teach them the skills to help them manage their feelings and make thoughtful choices. This is what we call emotion regulation and it’s good for children’s mental health.

How does emotion regulation, or teaching kids to manage their feelings, help?

Emotion regulation is one of the most important skills we learn in life, but it can take time and practice.

Research tells us emotion regulation skills are related to many positive outcomes, including:

  • Increased resilience (the ability to bounce back from difficulties)
  • School success
  • Advanced social skills
  • Improved ability to pay attention and concentrate
  • Enhanced decision-making ability
  • Lowered risk for mental-health concerns

When should I start teaching my children how to talk about their emotions?

Kids can start learning these skills early, even before they can speak! Just like we teach kids colors, ABCs, and numbers, we can teach them emotion words from infancy.

We have a Go Noodle channel with some videos on common emotions (like worry, excitement, anger and sadness) that can help!

Teaching kids about emotions will help them develop skills that they can use their whole lives. Just by talking about the emotions you feel or that you think your child is feeling, you’re helping your child to learn how to label their feelings.

Want to learn more details on how to teach emotion regulation? We have 4 skills you can teach children! 

  1. Naming Emotions
  2. Helping Kids Identify Their Feelings
  3. Expressing Emotions Appropriately
  4. Coping with Strong Feelings



Claussen A. Robinson L. Kaminski J. Charania S. Holbrook J. So M. Ghandour R. Smith C. Satterfield-Nash A. Peacock G. Boyle C. Factors Associated with Self-regulation in a Nationally Representative Sample of Children Ages 3–5 Years: United States, 2016. Matern Child Health. 2021 Jan; 25(1): 27–37.