We’ve all been there. Your co-worker says something insulting to you. Somebody cuts you off in traffic. And you feel the anger rising up, and you want to punch somebody or something. But, you don’t, because even though you had an emotional response to a situation, you knew that those behaviors are not acceptable. Kids, however, need a little more help in understanding their emotions, which is where this lesson comes in.



The goal of this lesson is to teach kids how to self-regulate their behaviors in emotional situations. They will learn about emotions and what they can do when they feel emotional to prevent themselves from making the wrong choice.

Emotions and Behaviors


Unfortunately, many kids are taught that emotions themselves are wrong, which is simply not true. We should have different emotional responses depending on the situation we’re in. However, where an emotion becomes a problem is when kids act or behave in negative ways because of that emotion.

For example, if a child has their toy taken from them, it’s ok for them to be angry about it, but it’s not ok for them to hit whoever took their toy. Understanding this difference is the foundation of this lesson. It gives kids the right to feel the appropriate emotion to the situation they’re in, but does not allow them to behave badly because of that emotion.



 Kids need to recognize that while they can’t control their emotions, they can control the way they act. They need to know that they have options other than following their instincts which may not be the right way to act. For this lesson, kids will do an activity that will help them come up with their own ideas about the other options they have within their control.

Because many kids feel like they have little control over their lives since they depend on adults for their basic needs and are expected to listen to and obey adults, this can make dealing with various situations harder on them. This is why this lesson is so important. It gives kids the control that they need to properly deal with emotional situations.



Each child will get a picture of a game controller, which has a number of different buttons on it. They will then come up with a different action for each button, something that they can do when they feel like they are starting to get out of control with their anger. Some things they might be able to do instead are going for a walk, counting to ten, or drinking water.

Once each kid has their own page filled out, then the class should share their ideas with each other so each child has an even longer list of options to work with. Because it will be hard for them to remember everything on their lists, children should be encouraged to pick one to three of their favorites and commit to using those when needed.

Parting Shot

 What are some ways that you can teach children how to have better control over their actions? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!


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