Emotional self-awareness involves identifying and understanding one's emotions ― including "big feelings" that can sometimes overwhelm us. As Fred Rogers reminds us: "When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary." Four-year-olds can use simple emotion words — such as "happy," "sad," "excited" and "scared" ― to describe how they are feeling either during or after an emotional reaction. They can also begin to talk about how specific events cause them to feel happy, sad, excited and scared.
Emotions & Self-Awareness Helping Your Four-Year-Old Understand and Manage Emotions
Help your child learn to express feelings:
Picture books are powerful tools for helping kids identify what feelings can look like ― and can help them begin to connect their feelings to the feelings of others. While reading, stop when an emotional event occurs and talk about how a character is feeling.
Pantomiming favorite activities or emotions in a charades-like game can be a fun way to "talk" without speaking.Do This Activity
Identify Cause and Effect
Build emotional self-awareness by helping children identify actions and experiences that trigger feelings. For example, losing a favorite toy might make someone feel sad, helping a younger sibling might make them feel happy, reading books with Dad might make them feel peaceful and going on a special outing with Grandma might make them feel excited.
Make Popsicle Stick Puppets
Using puppets to explore and express emotions can help your child learn to identify and develop appropriate responses when frustrated, sad or mad.Do This Activity
Help Your Child Manage Emotions with Daniel Tiger
Through imagination, creativity and music, Daniel and his friends learn how to manage big and overwhelming feelings using strategies grounded in the teachings of Mister Rogers.Find Activities
Activity Finder: Learn With Your Four-Year-Old
ActivitiesView All Activities
Sodor I Spy
Playing a game of Thomas themed I Spy can help your child pass the time while waiting in line or on a long car ride. Be sure to provide plenty of encouragement as your child continues guessing.
AppsView All Apps
Arthur's Big App
Focusing on positive social skills and friendship, each game in this app allows your child to explore Elwood City with Arthur, Buster, Francine, and Muffy.
GamesView All Games
Something Special for Dad
Daniel is sending a letter to his Dad to show him how much he loves him. Your child can read along with this interactive storybook as Daniel describes how he made and sent the letter.