7 Social-Emotional Lessons To Help Little Kids Manage Big Feelings


Navigating the world of emotions can be challenging for little kids, but it’s essential to teach them how to manage their big feelings in a healthy way. Social-emotional learning (SEL) is an important aspect of early childhood education, as it helps children develop crucial skills, such as empathy, self-awareness, and self-regulation. Here are seven essential social-emotional lessons to help your little ones express and handle their emotions effectively.

1. Identifying Emotions

Teaching your child the vocabulary to talk about their feelings is an essential first step in helping them manage their emotions. Use everyday situations to guide your child into recognizing and naming their feelings, such as happy, sad, angry, frustrated, or worried. When they can articulate their emotions, it becomes easier for them to express and process them.

2. Responding to Emotions

Teach your child appropriate ways of responding to different emotions they may encounter. For example, if they’re feeling upset or frustrated, encourage them to take deep breaths or count backward from 10 before reacting. This will help them develop skills in self-regulation and prevent impulsive responses that may lead to aggression or unhealthy coping habits.

3. Active Listening

Show your child how to listen carefully and empathize with others by modeling active listening behaviors. Pay attention when they speak about their feelings and engage in comforting or validating talk afterward. This skill will allow your child to better understand and respond to the emotions of others around them.

4. Empathy

Introduce empathy by teaching your kids how to recognize and understand the feelings of others. Help them practice putting themselves in someone else’s shoes by asking questions like: “How do you think that person is feeling?” Developing empathy will enable your child to build better relationships with their peers and form healthy connections throughout life.

5. Sharing

Teaching your child the importance of sharing can help foster a sense of community and generosity. Encourage them to share their toys, snacks, and experiences with friends. This will not only make for a happier playtime, but also help your child understand the benefits of cooperation and reciprocity.

6. Conflict Resolution

Inevitably, conflicts will arise among friends or siblings. Help your child navigate these challenges by teaching them strategies for peaceful conflict resolution, such as communication, compromise, and seeking an adult’s help when necessary. By learning how to settle disputes calmly and fairly, your child will improve their interpersonal skills.

7. Expressing Gratitude

Lastly, teach your child the importance of gratitude. Encourage them to regularly express thanks for the things they have and appreciate the people in their lives. This attitude will contribute to increased feelings of happiness and a healthier perspective on life.


Empowering your little ones with these social-emotional lessons will lay the groundwork for their emotional development and resilience throughout life. By nurturing their emotional intelligence from a young age, you can ensure that they grow into well-rounded adults capable of handling life’s many challenges and forming genuine connections with others.

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