One way to help children develop emotional awareness is connected to their physical sensations. Parents can help their kids learn about this connection between their bodies and their emotions.

As kids become more aware of what is going on inside their bodies, they can learn to recognize that butterflies in the stomach may signal a bit of anxiety. If they notice they are clenching their fists and have a desire to hit something, they may be feeling angry or frustrated. Sadness may create a physical sensation of heavy shoulders.

As children identify the physical sensations that go along with their various emotions, the sensations can become clues about what to do next. Recognizing different sensations—whether they be hunger, fatigue, excitement, or butterflies—gives children more understanding of and influence over their feelings. For example, being able to identify feelings of tension when they are nervous can be a clue that it is time to take some deep breaths to calm down.

Connecting physical sensations to emotions is one way to become more aware of feelings. Help your kids learn how to make that connection.