5-6 yrs (kindergarten) 6-8 yrs (primary) PreK 3-5 yrs (preschool)

Understanding and Expressing Emotions Part 2: Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation involves our ability to manage feelings and actions. Having the ability to regulate our emotions is an important skill for children as it is associated with being able to develop and maintain friendships as well as good mental health and stress management. Last month we introduced the first step in “self regulation” and that was recognizing and being able to label our feelings. The next step is to learn how to manage our feelings. Below are some books and activities that can help teach children strategies for managing emotions.

START HERE: For a good overview of what Emotional Regulation is and why it’s so important, see the article written by Parenting for the Brain. This is a great starting point. Other resources to start off with include Part 1 in our Understanding and Expressing Emotion series as well as our previous blog on Anger Management


The books below not only introduce children to the various ways we feel but also how to manage these feelings in appropriate ways.

Books about Worry and Anxiety:

David and the Worry Beast by Ann Marie Guanci 

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes 

Books about Anger:

When Sophie Gets Angry by Molly Bang

Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang

Books about Sadness:

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld 

Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner


Watch a great video that teaches children to breathe through an engaging story: Lori Lite’s Sea Otter Cove.  This pairs well with the books above on worrying.

Ryan’s World video presents easy to follow instructions for making a volcano as a fun activity to pair with the books above on anger.  Supplies needed include: food coloring, empty plastic soda bottle, vinegar, and baking soda.

This is an entertaining video about a little squirrel who is feeling sad and what he does that makes him feel better. 


Social-Emotional Development

Grade Levels: Preschool through Primary

Age Levels: 

  • Pre-K 3-5 yrs (preschool)
  • 5-6 yrs (kindergarten)
  • 6-8 yrs (primary)


Karena Rush


Creative Commons License


Credit: on 05/19/2021

By Karena Rush

Hi Everyone! Welcome to our site! My name is Karena and I am a child clinical psychologist with a background in school psychology, education, and early childhood risk and prevention. I have worked in schools, hospitals, and community outreach settings with kids with all levels of abilities devoting most of my time to children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One of my passions is helping parents and teachers identify fun activities that can help build developmental and academic skills (aka- learning while playing!!). In fact, I have had the opportunity to work with toy developers and companies from around the world in developing and identifying toys that enhance learning. Outside of work, I love to travel and spend time outdoors with my two daughters and husband. I am so excited that you are visiting our site and hope you find our activities as fun as we do!

- A.B. Psychology, Bryn Mawr College
- M.Ed. Early Childhood Risk and Prevention, Harvard University
- M.S. Psychology, Louisiana State University
- Ph.D. Psychology: Child Clinical, Louisiana State University
- Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Kennedy Krieger Institute

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