Seven ways to support students’ emotional health

To find out how to best support the emotional health of students in the classroom and children at home, let’s start by defining the concept. Emotional health entails being aware of and in tune with our emotions. Edutopia describes it as the “foundation for safe and positive learning.” Positive emotional health is particularly important for children because it enhances their ability to process their feelings, relate to others, and lay the groundwork for success in school and life beyond the classroom.

Learn how to promote kids’ emotional health with these tips and accompanying resources designed for teachers and parents:

Introduce a range of emotions to younger students.

Use this worksheet to open up the discussion around mindfulness, which is the acceptance of one’s feelings, with little ones, and to teach them about the more complex emotions that exist. Help students understand emotions such as being upset, excited, and surprised, then ask them to match the faces to the emotions.

Encourage older students to describe emotions.

If you have older students in your class or at home, try this more advanced emoji-based activity. Ask them to describe popular icons from text messaging to reflect on emotional language. After completing the worksheet, students can then share the descriptions they wrote with a classmate, sibling, or friend to compare their different interpretations.

Teach kids to manage their feelings with guidance on children’s emotions.

Find expert advice on everything from mindfully approaching outbursts to modeling your own behaviors and reactions. Learn to diffuse tricky situations so children can develop self-awareness and an ability to respond appropriately to challenges and conflict.

Promote emotional health with a one-page guide for parents.

The Social Emotional Learning at Home worksheet has ideas for how to teach your child to ask well-developed questions, talk about their feelings, use creative skills, and practice critical thinking. The worksheet helps you better understand how kids process their emotions, interact with others, and navigate highs and lows.

Boost creativity and self-reflection with a scrapbook art project.

Start by making a list of clues for your child, such as “something happy,” “something tasty,” or “something you don’t like.” Have your child take a picture to represent each item, then print the photos and have your child glue one picture on the front and back of each piece of paper. Underneath each photo, have your child write a caption. For example, “I think freshly baked cookies smell delicious” or “spending time with my family makes me happy.”

Use tools for social and emotional development in online learning.

A school counselor recommends teaching students to continuously identify and process emotions. Teach kids to do this by introducing a helpful character emotions chart and scheduling regular video check-ins with them to build and foster relationships and time for sharing.

Create a physical or digital calm down corner for when kids need some space.

Design a cozy and safe space in your classroom for your students’ to recalibrate their emotions. Include the emotions chart or another form of visual guidance to teach them skills to calm down. Take it digital, too, with other helpful online resources found at the link above.