Professional Resources

Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation is a skill. Managing our response to events that trigger strong feelings is easier for some than others. For many of us we learn to regulate our emotions as we grow – we no longer throw a tantrum in a supermarket when we are frustrated or over tired! How easy we find this is dependent on our personality, experiences and environment.

Some children’s early caregivers will have given them the emotional language and coping strategies to manage their feelings fairly well most of the time. Others may have had little guidance to manage this, or may have additional needs that make this harder.

Emotional regulation is a skill it can be practised and improved upon to some extent throughout life. Learning to control our emotions makes life easier and allows us take ownership of our reactions to difficult experiences.

Settings have an important role to play in supporting children to regulate their emotions. When young people can better manage their feelings and frustrations they can build positive relationships and fully access their education. 

Dive Deeper

In Professional Settings

Setting cultures where talking about and managing emotions is an everyday 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.

Professionals 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 the setting 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 young people 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.

Regulating Emotions

Self regulation is an important skill that impacts on every aspect of life even small changes can make a big difference going forward. 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’ word.
  • 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.

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.

There is a wealth of information to help settings support children regulate emotion and many children will benefit greatly from this.

For Families

Getting parents and carers involved will make interventions more likely to succeed. You could signpost families to the free online Solihull Course.


Nuffield Health

School Wellbeing Activity Programme (SWAP) - Free 6 week programme of evidence based lessons delivered in six one hour sessions.  The programme is aimed at children aged 9-12 years old but can be adapted for other school age children.  The four key themes are:

    • How I Move - focusing on physical activity.
    • How I Eat - focusing on sugar content of food and drinks, hydration, fruit and vegetables.
    • How I Sleep - focusing on sleep, sleep hygiene and screen time.
    • How I Feel - focusing on emotional wellbeing and resilience.

Anna Freud resources


The CARE animation is a short animation for all professional settings that recognises the importance of supporting children and young people’s mental health in settings, and offers a simple principle for staff to remember; CARE. (Curious, Approachable, Refer, Empathy).  It is aimed at all professionals, including including support staff and those who may not have direct contact with young people. The animation can be used in one of the following ways:

  1. On a staff training day
  2. In a staff briefing or team meeting
  3. Send the animation and resources out in a staff bulletin.

You can watch the CARE animation and download the accompanying guidance and poster at www.annafreud.org/careanimation.

Mentally Healthy Schools

Mentally Healthy Schools is a free website where schools can find a range of information and resources to help school staff understand, promote and deal confidently with children's mental health issues.


'All Our Health' offer free, bite-sized e-learning sessions - to improve the knowledge, confidence and skills of health and care professionals in preventing illness, protecting health and promoting wellbeing. The sessions cover some of the biggest issues in public health including;

  • Childhood obesity 
  • Pollution
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)

They contain signposting to trusted sources of helpful evidence, guidance and support to help professionals embed prevention in their everyday practice.

Shelf Help - Reading Well

  • My Hidden Chimp - Professor Steve Peters
  • Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life For Teens - Sheri Van Dijk
  • Stuff That Sucks, A Teens Guide To Accepting What You Can't Change And Committing To What You Can - Ben Sedley
  • Mind Your Head - Juno Dawson

Norfolk County Council Libraries – have a wide range of books on managing feelings.

How Can Norfolk & Waveney Children & Young People's Health Services Help?

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