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Feelings and Behavior Go Together

Helping children understand the link between feelings and behavior can help them learn how our feelings can affect the choices we make, and can improve children’s self-control. It can also improve their ability to recognize feelings in others in order to empathize and avoid misinterpretation.

The Steps
  1. Think about what happened.
  2. Think of how your body feels.
  3. Recognize the feeling.
  4. Say, “I feel ____________.”
Happy
  • Smile
  • Laugh
  • Calm breathing
  • Relaxed muscles
Sad
  • Frown
  • Cry
  • Crossed arms
  • Move slowly
Angry
  • Red face
  • Frown
  • Tense muscles
  • Fast breathing
Scared
  • Big, open eyes
  • Stand still
  • Hear beats fast
  • Quiet
Possible Conversations
  • Ask your mentee which of these feelings are comfortable and which are uncomfortable.
  • Ask your mentee about a time when s/he felt sad, happy, etc., and then ask the child, “How do you show you are ____?” Invite your mentee to act out the feelings that each of these situations would bring:
    • Your class is going to receive an extra recess because they did a great job on their spelling test/artwork/music/reading, etc.
    • You made a drawing and someone said, “You can’t draw.”
    • You just heard a friend say that anyone wearing a green shirt is ugly.
  • Explore with your mentee how other people feel when we show comfortable or uncomfortable feelings.
  • Using literature, invite your mentee to identify in the illustrations clues to how the characters feel. Or, invite your mentee to draw their own pictures illustrating how the main characters feel.

 

Adapted from Teaching Young Children Self-Control Skills, National Association of School Psychologists, 2002.

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