Different emotions are associated with different internal body signals (physiological reactions).

How does this affect your child?

Part of children’s emotional knowledge includes being aware of their internal body signals for different emotions. Children who are unaware of their internal body signals for different feelings like distress, angry and frustration may not even be able to communicate these feelings to others until they are at the later stage of a meltdown or tantrum.

Nonetheless, these incidents that emerge out of escalated feelings can be prevented during the early warning stage.

To help children regulate their emotions positively, it is crucial to support them in becoming more self-aware of their early warning signs.

When children are quick to identify and respond appropriately to their internal body signals for different emotions, it is less likely for a build-up of negative feelings to translate into undesired behaviours that are harder to manage.

Children can respond appropriately by learning to express their distress in constructive and socially acceptable ways. With support, children can learn relaxation methods to calm down and prevent further escalation.

They can also learn to indicate what they are feeling and the intensity of their feeling through talking or other methods like an emotion thermometer (intensity scale).

Quiz: Let’s check in

A boy has tensed muscles and a raised heart rate, but is unaware of these early internal body signals for feeling anxious. How can he be more aware that he is starting to feel anxious in the future? 
After throwing a tantrum, feel bad about feeling anxious
While throwing a tantrum, tell someone he is feeling anxious
During the early warning stage, notice these signs more saliently and learn what it feels like
Ignore when he feels these signals

Correct!

Wrong!

Which of the following does not support why it is important for children to identify the internal body signals of different emotions?
To prevent feelings of distress from escalating into a tantrum
To help regulate emotions better
To express their distress in socially unacceptable ways
None of the above

Correct!

Wrong!

What is one method that children should avoid to prevent further escalations after they have learnt to identity their internal body signals for the emotions?
Stopping to think about their feelings
Shaking their muscles to relax
Taking deep breaths
Keeping their negative feelings to themselves

Correct!

Wrong!

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Part 3 – Self Awareness for Parents

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References

  • Webster-Stratton, C. (1999). How to promote children’s social and emotional competence. London: Sage.