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Suffolk Center for Speech


Learning How to Teach Emotions

Teaching your child about emotions at a young age can help and encourage them to express themselves in appropriate ways. This will also teach them how to regulate their emotions. Babies as young as 3 months begin to attend to facial expressions. As your child grows, they start to match facial expressions with body language that is associated with each emotion. The first step to children learning how to manage emotions is identifying emotions within themselves.

One way to help your child understand emotions (receptive) is by using photos/pictures of different emotions and talking them through each emotion. It is important to get into detail regarding the facial features and body language in each photo and how it changes with each emotion. Visuals are a great way to keep your child engaged. Another great way to target understanding emotions at home is to have your child practice making each emotion. You can even take pictures of them to add to your cards for practice! Another activity is scattering the photos on the table and asking your child to “find” a specific emotion. It may be best to start out with an option of 2 and then gradually increase the amount of pictures given. Lastly, your child can practice drawing faces for different emotions.

If you are looking to work on your child’s ability to label or name emotions (expressive) you can still use photos/pictures of different emotions, however you can ask them to label it. Another activity is to discuss different times or situations that may make you feel each emotion and then ask your child to provide you with an example of a time they felt a specific emotion (i.e. What makes you feel happy?) Another recommendation is to provide a basic scenario for your child and have them tell you how they would feel if that situation occurred. In example, “How would you feel if you didn’t get invited to your friend’s birthday party?” There are several ways to target emotions within everyday life. If you are having difficulty finding the time to do so, you can always target emotions by using real-life situations as an example.

-Deidre B.


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