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Exploring Emotions

Help your fourth- or fifth-grader learn to express his emotions.

By Miriam Myers , GreatSchools Staff

Children go through puberty at different ages. Puberty causes changes in their bodies and can intensify their emotions. Whether or not your child is experiencing puberty, it's helpful for him to explore different emotions and develop the vocabulary to talk about his feelings.

What You'll Need

  • Paper
  • A pen or pencil

Here's How to Do It

With your child, make a list of various emotions. Some examples are joy, confusion, fear, gratitude, embarrassment and anger. Take turns describing situations in which both of you have experienced those emotions. Discuss how you reacted to having those feelings.

Explore "I" statements as a way to express your feelings. Write on a piece of paper: "I feel    (list an emotion)    when you    (describe specific behavior)   , because    (explain how it affects you)   ."

Start by writing about a positive feeling, and demonstrate how to fill in the blanks. For example, you might write: "I feel happy when you do your homework without me prompting you, because it shows me you are being responsible and organized." Then ask your child to come up with other examples and write about them in a similar way.

Comments from readers

"I am a school-based counselor and often use this technique with my clients - it is very helpful for children to learn how to identify and express their emotions appropriately!!!"
"Thank you so much greatschools, you´ve really help as a true WISE friend, ;) bye!"
"This is a great feedback for parents to help our kids in reading. I have a 5th grader and just wanted to Thank you!"