5 fun games for managing emotions (3-5 years)

We’ve put together some games to help you explore the colourful world of emotions with your child.

Techniques through play and story

  • Calming with our breath: Use a fun stuffed animal (such as a “calm bear”) to demonstrate how to breathe in angry situations.

Did you know that deep breathing changes the chemistry in the body, helps calm emotions, quiet thoughts, focus and increase confidence in your own strength? Teach your child as early as possible to breathe deeply in situations that make them feel unwell.

Use a story frame with the plushies of your choice. The story I like to tell is about the teddy bear who had a bad dream at night and wakes up crying. Your child is sure to resonate with the subject and want to help the teddy bear. Invite your little one to imitate you and show Martinel, the bear, how to breathe and thus help the teddy bear calm down and go to sleep.

  • Identifying feelings through faces: Show large pictures of different facial expressions (happy, sad, angry, scared) and ask the child to interpret them or indicate the appropriate emotion when miming a situation. E.g. You’re acting out, tripping and falling and screaming excessively and crying. Include another adult in the play so you can demonstrate what to do.
  • How to calm down at home: Take a tour of the “calm corner”! Read on the blog about how to set up this area at home with your child: Setting up the space for calming emotions.

Talk again about the things chosen and what his favourite calming method is.

Read stories or tell him stories:

  • When we feel frustrated: Read a short children’s book about a character who is experiencing frustration. Pause during the book to discuss the character’s feelings and ask him how he might calm down in that situation.
  • Feeling sad is okay: Gently introduce the concept of sadness by miming or acting it out (missing a friend, losing a toy). Offer suggestions for expressing sadness in healthy ways (crying, talking to an adult,).
  • The power of words: Explain how using beautiful words can make us and others feel good. Mime different scenarios (sharing toys, asking for help) and show how positive communication can make a difference. Read also Empathy in children

Attention! Children this age can be easily distracted. Use visual appeals such as bright colours, toys and simple demonstrations to capture the attention of young viewers. Focus on one main concept per game!

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