Emotional self-awareness involves identifying and understanding one’s emotions – including “big feelings” that can sometimes overwhelm us. Eight-year-olds can learn to identify more complex emotions and talk about how their feelings can affect their behavior. For example, they can begin to see that feeling jealous of a friend might make them act grouchy toward that friend. They can also understand that it’s possible have “conflicting feelings” or “mixed emotions” about a situation.
Emotions & Self-Awareness How to Help Your Eight-Year-Old Understand and Manage Emotions
How to build your child's emotional vocabulary:
Teach "I" Statements
To help children understand the cause and effect between external experience and internal emotions, show them how to form an "I" statement: "I feel _______ (insert feeling word) when _____ (share what caused this feeling)." These statements open up the door to honest communication and creative problem solving. Here are some examples of how "I" statements can be used to reframe emotions and clearly articulate feelings.
- I feel mad when my little sister goes into my room without asking me first.
- I feel sad when you go to work and I have a babysitter.
- I feel left out when my friends have a playdate and I can't go.
- I feel peaceful when we color together and I wish we did it more often.
Introduce and Normalize Complex Emotions
Continue to build children's emotional vocabulary by introducing more complex, nuanced emotions such as frustration, loneliness, grief, jealousy, anticipation, wonder, gratitude, hope and peace. When you see them experiencing one of these emotions, share your observation: "It's been two weeks since your friend moved away. Are you feeling lonely?" Model using specific words to describe your own emotions so that children see that everyone has feelings: "When I sit outside and listen to the birds, it helps me feel peaceful"; or "I felt really frustrated today when I couldn't find some papers that I needed for work."
Buster wants to make a movie that shows a specific emotion… sad, excited, happy, or funny. Your child can choose items to appear in the movie that best matches the selected emotion.Play This Game
Help Your Child Manage Emotions with Arthur
Whether facing down a bully, worrying about a new teacher or being the very last person on earth to lose his baby teeth, Arthur and his friends manage to solve their crises with imagination, kindness and a lot of humor.Find Activities
Activity Finder: Learn With Your Eight-Year-Old
ActivitiesView All Activities
A trip to your local library can be lots of fun! Help your child find a book on butterflies and metamorphosis and then act out how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.
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
Abby's Sandbox Search
Abby is digging in her magical sandbox. Using a magic shovel, your child can help Abby uncover items that start with the letter shown on the sand bucket.