How can we pay attention to our feelings?

Apr 23, 2020


Feelings are part of what makes us being human. Sometimes they can be baffling, overwhelming, confusing…they can lead us to behave in unexpected ways. How can we become more familiar with our feelings, especially when we are very young?

At Howard Primary we use the language of Zones of Regulation and we see feelings also as having physical signs. We talk about feeling uncomfortable and our cheeks getting hotter. We talk about how feeling anxious can make our shoulders tense up or our palms become sweaty. Slowly we get to know what feelings feel like and we learn new words to express ourselves. We learn how to be emotionally literate.


We classify feelings/emotions and how they can make our body feel into four zones:

Green Zone = when you are ready – “good to go.” You feel happy, calm, focused, ready to learn

Blue Zone = when your body is running slowly, such as when you are tired, sick, sad or bored.

Yellow Zone = when you feel your engine is running high, such as when you are frustrated, overwhelmed, silly, wiggly, excited, worried, anxious or surprised.

Red Zone = is when you have “flipped your lid.” You have extreme feelings such as panic, uncontrolled anger, aggression or elation.

We play games to familiarise ourselves with the language of feelings as children might only know the word happy and angry to express their feelings. Games such as Emotions Bingo or Let’s sort our feelings out

Why not have a go at the game below?

Emoji Zones Matching chart

The answers are in this file:

Answer_ Emoji Zones Matching chart

Let’s look at ANXIETY more closely. How could it make our body feel? Which unexpected  behaviours could anxiety lead us to display?

This cartoon explains how baffling feelings can be for children and adults. That is why it is very important to get to know our emotions and how they can affect our behaviour and self worth. Emotional literacy does not just happen, it is a skill which can be taught. Awareness is the first step on the road to emotional literacy.

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What does a washing machine have in common with worrying?

Apr 8, 2020

How to stop worrying and negative thoughts in 4 simple steps.

This analogy is one of my favourite ways to explain what anxiety/ worrying can feel like. The article above also gives 4 easy steps to use to train yourself to come out ( and stay out!) of the washing machine full of worries, negative thoughts and anxiety. Anxiety is part of a vast range of feelings we can all experience in our lives. When everything is well balanced, anxiety is actually a way to keep us safe and avoid taking unnecessary risks. It is an emotion that alerts us to danger. However, when anxiety and worry stop us to be content, happy, sociable then it is a bit like being stuck in a washing machine : very unpleasant! Children, teenagers, adults can all experience an overwhelming sense of worry and anxiety which, in turn, can affect one’s behaviour and self-esteem.

At Howard Primary we are very mindful in the way we teach children about feelings and how to detect overpowering emotions. We use a program called Zones of Regulation which teaches children how to put together a range of tools to support a good , healthy emotional balance.

One of the tools we practise is called mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the ability to know what’s happening in your head at any given moment without getting carried away by it. Mindfulness activities help us to:

  • pay attention to the feelings we have
  • process those feelings
  • respond to the feelings in a controlled way

The video below goes through a range of benefits of mindfulness. In my next post I will talk about how we can pay attention to the feelings we have.

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Attention Bucket : home activities

Apr 7, 2020

Attention Bucket is a very useful programme to develop attention skills.

You can follow the programme as follows:

  1. Decide on the rules you want your child to follow e.g. 1. Stay seated OR 1.You can get up from the chair 2. You can not touch the screen 3. You have to watch the whole video 
  2. Watch videos in order so start from Level 1 
  3. You will see in the videos that clearing up is part of the programme. The intention is to help the children understanding the concepts of ‘Finished’ and ‘Next’.
  4. Enjoy!

The first video highlights useful strategies behind the programme:


These are a selection of Level 1 and 2 sessions for you to watch with your child: