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Feeling Forecast: Emotional Regulation Teaching Worksheets

This three-piece worksheet is an adapted excerpt from my COVID Kid’s Activity Book. This bundle includes two worksheets, with three pages total.

The Feeling Forecast is a coloring book page and activity designed to teach kids about the Window of Tolerance (and why sometimes everyone needs to take a break to calm-down in order to be able to listen and learn). Learning outcomes: being better listeners, growing empathy, and growing the ability to notice when they begin to feel overwhelmed.

The Sunshine/Raincloud Family Check-in is a great take-home activity to help kids learn to develop empathy and listening skills. Learning Outcomes: understanding that feelings come and go and empathy development.

This worksheet works best for kids ages 3-8 years old.

The ability to experience, express, and then to regulate our emotions is the foundation for good mental health and general well-being. When kids have healthy emotional regulation skills, they can spend more time learning, developing in relationships, and thriving in life. Teaching emotional regulation, however, is tricky!

Researchers have shown that good emotional regulation starts with secure attachment to attuned caregivers. Early experiences of “feeling felt” and being soothed by a kind caregiver build into the brain an ability to bounce back to a listening and learning state after being very upset or very shut down.

Children who have greater comprehension of their feelings appear to be more competent at understanding, communicating, and conversing about those feelings with adults who can contribute further to their knowledge of and capacities for managing those emotions. This is especially true of the negative, distressing feelings that are most perplexing to children and elicit greatest regulatory effort by children and their parents.1

Not everyone receives that early attachment experience, but even without these early experiences, emotional regulation can be developed and strengthened through growing awareness of emotions, mindful practice, and engagement in relationship with attuned partners. (For kids, the impact of mentors, teachers, and non-parent adults who care all contribute to growing emotional regulation. For adults, these relationships might look like committed romantic partners, wise friends, and therapists).

The feeling forecast worksheet is designed for helping younger kids learn about their emotions, how to notice when feelings are interrupting their ability to listen and learn, and to begin to understand how to seek out (or give themselves) the care they need when they are upset.

By supporting kids in learning how to: 1. check-in with their feelings, 2. notice when they are upset, 3.  identify what they need, and 4. seek the kind of support that they need to get grounded, we can help kids as early as three and four begin to develop skills that can support a lifetime of emotional intelligence and healthy support seeking.

Image of the worksheets mentioned in the post.


How to Use

The Feeling Forecast worksheet can be used in a number of ways. It can be used as a teaching tool to help educate about awareness of our emotions and the things that help us calm down.

My favorite use of this tool comes from a fellow therapist who suggested having kids fill out the bottom portion (three things that help them get back to their “rainbow”) and then laminating or placing the page in a frame with plexiglass cover. Then, parents, kids, and educators can use the worksheet as a dry erase check-in. Kids who might not know how to answer the question “are you upset?” or “do you feel overwhelmed?” may be able to color the rainbow or place the “X” in a place that helps their caregiver understand how they are feeling and what they might need.

Image that depicts doodles of glass jars.

Worksheet #2: Teaching Empathy And Open-Mindedness with the Sunshine And Rain Clouds Family Check-in Worksheet

This worksheet works best for kids ages 6-11 years old.

If you’ve ever developed a habit of journaling, you may have had the common experience that writing about our feelings can help us develop perspective on our own emotions. When our emotions are written down – whether it’s long-format or a short worksheet like this one, we tend to have a more objective, open-handed perspective. In this worksheet kids are encouraged to take on the role of record keeper with their family, class group, or another group.

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Instagram screen grab of the Feelings Forecast worksheet.

How to Use

Each person in the group takes turns sharing their high point and low point of their day (called “sunshine and rain clouds” to keep with the playful weather theme). This builds into family/group time the opportunity for every family member to show up and share both their victories and their struggles, as well as what emotion they are feeling.

This can help families and other groups develop a dynamic in which all members are heard, and all feelings and experiences are valid. By taking the time to listen and record, and in the process of doing so to “sit with’ another person’s emotion, kids can practice and develop their capacity for empathy.

Feelings Forecast Worksheet & COVID

This worksheet can be especially helpful in the wake of pandemic shut-downs. While we we’ve been locked down, research has continued. Researchers who studied children and families during the pandemic found evidence to support the significant role of parental involvement in helping children adjust to what is happening in the world. Two aspects that researchers have studied are parental emotional regulation and parental playfulness (i.e. how parents reframe stressful situations in a playful, creative, or fun manner- common examples being turning a spoon into an imaginary flying plane during a stressful feeding or using play to make a vaccine appointment full of more giggles than tears).

Although we try to shelter kids from the stress of managing a pandemic, they feel it through lots of unknowns and a complete change in daily life. Because children seek routine and cues from parents to make sense of the world, they may struggle to make sense of what is going on around them right now. This is why parents and caregivers are so important: it is in their interactions with children that children learn how to express, understand, and manage their own emotions. 

  1. Waters, S. F., et al. (2010). Emotion Regulation and Attachment” url=”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2821505/ []

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