Supporting Emotion Regulation

A series of strategies for helping young children recognize, describe, and manage big feelings

Young children are just beginning to learn about and understand a wide range of emotions. Helping children recognize and describe a range of feelings help grow their ability to manage challenging feelings that come up in their day-to-day interactions. This strategy suite includes a series of resources, including some that from the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI).

Hallmarks of This Strategy

Label Feelings

The ability to name a feeling allows children to discuss and reflect with others about their personal experience of the world. 

Practice Calming Strategies

When children have opportunities to practice regulating their emotions in advance, they are more equipped to deal with challenging emotions that may come up.

Manage Big Feelings

Giving children the tools to manage their big feelings empowers them to regulate emotions with increasing independence.


Preparing Children to Handle Strong Emotions

In this lesson, we introduce the topic of emotion regulation. We focus on the various techniques we can use to help children practice identifying, handling, and working through a range of strong emotions in appropriate ways. 


Supporting Children During Strong Emotions

In this lesson, we focus on how educators can help children work through strong emotions that come up during daily classroom situations. We share four steps you can use, placing a special emphasis on acknowledging and reflecting children’s big feelings.


The Turtle Technique

This lesson describes how you can effectively teach and implement the Turtle technique. Learn how Tucker the Turtle helps children stop, tuck, take deep breaths, and consider a solution to overcome a challenging situation or feeling. 


Additional Resources

Guide to Supporting Emotion Regulation (Español)

Learn more about this strategy and its importance, and learn tips for trying it in your classroom.

Family Guide to Working Through Emotions (Español)

Share this guide with families to communicate the strategies you're using at school. Take time to make connections between how children are supported at home and in the classroom.

Tucker Turtle Materials

Print out the Tucker turtle story and a printable page that highlights each of the four steps.

Feelings Chart

Use it to help young children recognize, point out, and describe their emotions.

Calm-Down Cards

Use it to help children easily "see" different ways to calm themselves down.

The Turtle Technique materials and Feelings Chart are created by and made available from the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI). You can find these resources on their website at