We have the power to change the way we react to a situation.
How to Manage Emotions
People need to learn how to manage their feelings and emotions.
Each time someone becomes angry or upset they make a choice to either cope with those feelings or react to them.
It takes a lot of self control and self discipline to calm down again after something has triggered someone to become angry or upset. Parents and teachers need to ‘teach’ children how to manage their feelings and emotions rather than punishing them for having them.
Many adults also need to learn how to manage their feelings appropriately. Children learn from what we do more than what we say!
Emotion Traffic Lights For Children
Red Zone Feelings: Out of control – a volcanic eruption!
When a child is in red zone they are not utilising the rational part of their brain. They are not in control of themselves. They may be frightened of themselves and: have a tantrum, scream, cry, kick, throw things, try to hurt you or another child.
Tools: (wait with support until the storm passes. Wait for the peak)
1. Stay calm.
2. Validate their feelings. Say “You are feeling.....”, Try and not say anything more.
3. Go into protect mode. Protect them from themselves, protect other children and property and protect yourself. Try to prevent them from harming you, themselves or others. It may be necessary to move away from them
Orange Zone Feelings: Anger, frustration, over excitement.
In this zone a child has a split second to a few minutes to either gain self discipline and return to green zone, or they will loose control and go to red zone.
1. Distract or Redirect
2. Remind them of any strategies you have taught them to get back to green zone.
3. Suggest they take deep breaths.
4. Go to them, get down to their level and help redirect them to calm.
5. Suggest they go to a place that helps them calm down. Positive Time Out. Let them go there on their own accord. You may choose to go with them.
6. Help them see they have been tripped by one of their triggers.
Green Zone Feelings: peaceful, calm, happy.
This is the zone when a child is at their best. It is the perfect and only time to teach them strategies to manage their feelings. People need to learn it is ok to have feelings such as anger, but it is what we do with our anger that matters. Children need to learn how to be angry appropriately, as well as cause and effect. They need to know that their actions impact on others and they can ‘right’ any ‘wrongs’. They can ask for forgiveness and try to make a better choice next time.
1. Help your child set up a place they can go to when they are in the red zone, or in the orange zone and
want to calm down. A positive time out space they can calm down in. Let them choose to go there.
2. Teach a child to take deep breaths, using their whole body, such as making big circles with their
3. Teach children to identify the triggers that cause them to get upset and avoid these.
4. Teach children to identify they are heading into the orange zone by recognising the physical sensations in their body, such as rapid breathing, sweaty palms, racing heart, clenched fists.
5. Teach children to release the energy their feelings have bought on such as: stomping their foot, punching a pillow, jumping up and down, rubbing hands together quickly.
6. Give children a feelings vocabulary.
7. Question a child about an incident that happened that caused them to go from their green zone to red zone. Help them: identify the trigger, understand they have a choice to not react negatively, understand they can apologise to someone they have upset, understand they can do better next time.
Recommended Books About Managing Emotions and
Emotional skill building books for children
Emotions cards to teach children how to name their emotions