Understanding Emotions for the School-Aged Child

Enrichment Therapies

January 23, 2017


We previously posted about some books that are great for teaching young children about emotions… But how can we help our school-aged students understand and regulate their emotions?

If your school-aged child struggles to simply understand the emotions he or she is feeling, an emotion chart is a great starting point for developing an understanding of feelings. In order to help your child become aware of his or her emotions, consider using a chart, like the one shown below. This chart provides a breakdown of a basic range of emotions. When a student is struggling to put his or her feelings into words, utilizing a visual similar to this chart can be quite helpful.

This chart was developed based on the Incredible Five Point Scale behavior support, which was created by Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis.

To use this chart, you can ask your child to ‘check in’ at a set time every day, for example, each morning before school, or each evening after school. You can also use this chart as needed throughout the day when your child is having a tough time explaining his feelings. In the beginning, any time you show this chart to your child, try providing an example of your own. You might say something like, “I am feeling like a ‘1’ today. I’m feeling pretty happy this morning because it’s Saturday and I get to spend the day at home with you!”. After providing a model, ask your child to point to/state how he is feeling. If possible, ask him to talk about why he is feeling this way. Consider altering this chart or making your own chart, to include fewer or more emotion words within each category, based upon your child’s level of understanding. If you would like to print off this chart for your own use at home, you can find it here! Also, you can find a blank chart here, which you can use to include your own emotion faces and emotion words!

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs.  At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success.  Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.


740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317



5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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