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Body of Emotions: 3 Simple Tips to Help Kids Recognize Emotions

by Lara Hocheiser October 14, 2019 2 min read

Body of Emotions: 3 Simple Tips to Help Kids Recognize Emotions

For those who have or work with kids know that they are full of big emotions and aren't afraid to display it. Often, kids may not be able to recognize the big emotions they are feeling. Instead, they become anxious, frustrated or angry.

I've seen this a countless number of times in the classroom and at home. Last week, a young girl was upset because her toys were moved. She clenched her fists and threw a mini-tantrum. I asked her to notice her body and feelings so we could understand what was causing these big emotions. Together, we took a deep breath and calmed down. We identified what made her upset and were able to fix her toys in the way she wanted. We continued playtime without any disruptions.

Our emotions cause sensations in our bodies. And with basic mindfulness techniques, kids can learn to identify, process and regulate those emotions through body awareness.   

Make Mindful Connections to Our Bodies and Emotions

  1. Name that Emotion: Help kids build their vocabulary of emotions so that they can understand what they are feeling. Connect those feelings with how they express them. Such as "you're smiling, you are excited."

    For visual learners, try using emojis to display what they look like and ask kids what each emotion feels like.
    By labeling emotions, kids can connect language to their feelings and openly talk about it. It also gives kids the confidence to talk about how they feel without judgment.

  2. Connect emotion with body awareness. Ask kids to pay attention to their body. For example, if they are slouching... ask them about their posture–perhaps they are tired or bored? This helps kids understand where those feelings may manifest. Or if your little one is feeling anxious... they might be feeling "butterflies" in their stomach.

    Talk about what we are feeling and where we feel it in our bodies.

  3. Provide tools for managing big emotions. As kids learn to identify their emotions, they can make mindful connections on how to process those emotions.

    Try mindfulness activities to regulate those emotions. Next time your little one is feeling angry or frustrated, ask them to take a mindful breath:

    Sit up tall and straighten your posture. Take a few deep breaths. Notice your breath. Now, notice your body. Is anywhere feeling tense? Relax those muscles. Bring your attention back to your breath. Clear your thoughts and take a few deep breaths.


We developed a resource for parents and teachers to teach how we can use body awareness to learn about our bodies and emotions while gaining valuable exercise.

We explore emotion through ten key body parts. Kids will learn yoga poses and mindful activities to take care of their bodies and emotions.

Comes with a teacher's manual and student workbook so kids learn how yoga, mindfulness and body awareness can help us take care of ourselves.

Check out My Body and Caring for Myself!

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