School cultures where talking about and managing emotions is an everday occurrence allow children and young people to develop an emotional language. This encourages children and young people to voice their feelings rather than acting them out.
Teachers often have a ringside seat to children and young people’s struggles with emotional regulation. They are in a good position to notice changes in behaviours and triggers for outbursts. This may be new behaviour and can indicate a child is struggling for any number of reasons at school or at home – and needs exploring. Other children and young people will be ‘well known’ for their acting out behaviours.
A consistent message to give is that no emotion is ‘wrong’. Supporting pupils to learn how to manage feelings positively can make a difference to how children and young people react. Some children will find this harder than others for a range of reasons including those children who have diagnosed additional needs – however everyone can benefit from the opportunity to reflect on how they react to difficult experiences. For some this might work in a whole class context whilst others will need individual time to make sense of how they can better regulate their emotions.
Helping children and young people learn to regulate their emotions does not have to be time consuming or complicated
• Whenever an opportunity arises discuss emotions using a range of ‘feelings’ words
• Help children identify the changes in their body that come with a feeling; early warnings of anger like feeling hot or anxiety making the heart beat faster.
• Help children come up with strategies to help when a ‘difficult feeling’ is building – like taking time out, doing a breathing exercise.
• Support and remind children to use their strategies – and praise and reinforce effort even if it doesn’t always work out.
Getting parents and carers involved will make interventions more likely to succeed. You could signpost families to the free online Solihull Course
There is a wealth of information to help schools support children regulate emotion and many children will benefit greatly from this. Self regulation is an important skill that impacts on every aspect of life even small changes can make a big difference going forward.
Some children may struggle to make any change. This might mean they are;
• Not able to contain their feelings - posing a risk to themselves or others
• Not able to build or maintain relationships
• Not able to access their education because of their behaviour
- 15-20 minute Bodyscan exercise
- The Children’s Society have a range of age specific resources to support work on managing feelings.
- Social Work Tool Box has a range of worksheets for group and individual work.
- Take 5 breathing exercise resource
- Nelson's Journey anger management tips
- PATHS (by Barnardos) work in schools to help development of self-control, emotional awareness and interpersonal problem-solving skills. The programme consists of a variety of lessons, and additional materials.
My Hidden Chimp by Prof Steve Peters book.
Norfolk County Council libraries – have a wide range of books on managing feelings.
How Can We Help?
Just One Norfolk Access the health advice website to explore a variety of health issues. This website is consistently being reviewed and updated.
Parent Activation Measure This helps parents think about their knowledge skills and confidence in understanding and supporting their children or unborn babies.
Just One Number Call to speak to a health professional by phoning 0300 300 0123. They will be able to provide initial advice and support and guide next steps with us or signpost you to other more relevant agencies and professionals. It is available 08.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00 to 13.00 on Saturdays
ChatHealth Children and Young people can access us through our text messaging service on 07480635060. They will be able to discuss any health concerns with one of our Practitioners and also be able to request an appointment if they would prefer to meet with us.
Parent Line Parents can access our services by texting our number 07520631590 . This allows them to access the advice and support from a clinician about any health issues affecting their children aged 0-19.
JustOneNorfolk Health Passport app Young people age 16-19 can download this app on apple or android phones. It provides young people age 16-19 with general health information and advice to increase health literacy. It signposts to services and promotes self care. It aims to increase resilience and wellbeing and to find out how to access health services.
Health Unlocked Parents can be signposted to this. It is a carefully monitored online community forum which allows local parents and carers to talk with each other regarding issues affecting their children. This can be accessed through our Just One Norfolk website.
Solihull Parenting Online For our Norfolk parents there is the opportunity to access this free of charge through JustOneNorfolk. It supports parents in understanding their children from 0-19 via 4 modules.
Staff working with children and families will also benefit from this – or they can book to do the two day Solihull Training provided by our service by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org