Supporting Emotions

A series of strategies that can help older infants and toddlers begin to recognize, describe, and work through strong emotions

Young children express a wide range of emotions. Sometimes, those feelings can be strong and overwhelming to them. Helping children understand and handle strong emotions helps them feel safe, calm, and more confident. This suite includes a series of strategies and resources you can use to help young children begin to recognize, express, and work through strong emotions. 

Hallmarks of This Strategy

Label Emotions

Consistently identifying and describing emotions helps children build their knowledge and vocabulary about feelings.

Practice Calming Strategies

Practice calm-down techniques ahead of time to prepare children before strong emotions occur.

Support Emotions in the Moment

Validate children’s emotions and help them work through strong emotions as they happen.


Labeling Emotions for Young Children

In this lesson, we describe the strategy of labeling emotions. We explore ways to acknowledge and label emotions as children and educators experience them in the classroom. We also explore engaging ways to help children understand and emotions through songs and books.


Teaching Calm-Down Techniques in Advance

In this lesson, we introduce calm-down techniques to teach and practice with children before they experience strong emotions. By incorporating these techniques into a daily routine, you can help prepare children to use them in the moment with your guidance and support.


Helping Children Work Through Emotions

In this lesson, we focus on what to do when young children experience strong emotions. We share three steps you can use, with a special emphasis on the adult’s role in helping children understand and work through their strong emotions.  


Additional Resources

Feeling Faces Cards

Download and use this resource to help young children recognize, point out, and describe their emotions.

Calm-Down Poster

Download and use this visual poster to help children easily see and point to different calm-down strategies.

The Feeling Faces Cards and Calm-Down Poster are created by and made available from the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI). You can find these resources on their website at