This page provides information to support educators and families when teaching K-3 students about emotions. It is designed to complement the Emotions topic on BrainPOP Jr.  

Ask students to think of a time they were happy or really excited. What made them feel that way? How did it make their bodies feel? Then ask the students to recall a time when they were sad or confused. How did this uncomfortable emotion feel in their bodies? Let children know that we all have emotions, and that it is important to recognize the feelings so we can manage them in a healthy way.

Explain that people feel different emotions all day, every day–sometimes every hour. Our bodies give us clues about our feelings. When we’re really enthusiastic about something, we jump up and down. When we’re angry, we might frown and tighten our fists or our hearts might race. When we’re sad, our chests might feel heavy. Acknowledge that some signs are the same for different emotions, like how people turn red from being embarrassed, angry, or sad.  

Ask children how people look and act when they’re happy, sad, angry, nervous, etc. After they respond, point out that not everyone expresses the same emotion in the same way. For example, someone might whistle when they’re happy, while another person might talk excitedly. It’s the same thing for other emotions, which is why we should pay attention to how our bodies express emotion, noticing what it does when we feel a certain way.

Let children know that by being aware of their emotions, they can identify when to use strategies to feel better. The important thing, when caught in the grip of a strong emotion, is to avoid doing or saying something they don’t mean. Model how to take long, deep breaths, and count to ten. Exercising, writing or drawing can also help manage strong emotions. Talking to friends and supportive family members is a great option, too.

When people make mistakes or don’t succeed in something, they may sometimes think mean things about themselves. Tell children that if they want to change how they feel, it helps to change how they think and act. They can remember all the things they’re good at, or play with friends and have fun. Also, when people are upset, helping others may make them feel better. Discuss that choosing to act or think in a way that takes them out of the negative emotion will make them feel better.

Finally, inform children that by learning to identify and manage their emotions, they’re developing an important skill that will benefit them all of their lives. By teaching children how to develop a healthy expression of their emotions, you are supporting their self-confidence and helping them create lifelong relationships.