Children just like adults experience a range of emotions, from excitement and happiness to sadness and anger. They experience emotions that feel good in our body and those that may not feel so desirable. It is important that children can recognise that this is something that we all experience as humans, and emotions are a common experience. It is highlighted within Early Childhood that children are developing skills to be able to self regulate their emotions and that this is often a big task for young children. When children are able to self regulate their emotions they can deal with stressors, changes both small and large, and are able manage feelings in appropriate ways that consider the needs of others. Being able to self regulate their emotions can also assist children to develop positive relationships with others and develop their sense of independence. In current society there is also a growing occurrence of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, therefore management and recognition of emotions is a lifelong skill that we can provide to our children to support their future wellbeing.
Within the groups recently we have looked at supporting children to recognise key emotions and feelings. Through story books, discussions and resources such as picture cards we have been looking at identifying key emotions, when we may feels these emotions, and for those emotions that may not be so pleasant how we can manage these. Through these explorations we are encouraging children to be able to identify key emotions firstly and how these might feel in our bodies. And then looking more closely at how we can manage these feelings in constructive ways, that also reflect the needs of others. Within the Victorian Early Years Learning framework the importance of supporting children’s emotional regulation is also highlighted and we work toward supporting children to achieve the following learning outcomes:
- Express a wide range of emotions, thoughts and views constructively”
- “Reach out and communicate for comfort, assistance and companionship”
- “Demonstrate an increasing capacity for self-regulation”
- “Show an increasing capacity to understand, self-regulate, and manage their emotions in ways that reflect their feelings and needs of others”
- “Remain accessible to others at times of distress, confusion and frustration”
Supporting children’s ability to self regulate their emotions is a long-term goal that can be supported both at home and kindergarten. It is through discussions, supportive relationships, learning spaces, children’s literature, modeling, praise, reassurance and support that we can support children to become confident in self-regulating their feelings and emotions.
The Elonera Teaching Team