On days when emotions in the classroom are running high what is a teacher to do? Children, unlike adults, have not yet learned that they can be in control of their emotions instead of having their emotions control them.

It all Starts with a Thought

Emotions are the body’s physical reaction to a thought. When we have happy thoughts, our bodies produce serotonin and dopamine. When we are fearful or stressed, our bodies produce cortisol and norepinephrine. This is why learning how to recognise and overcome negative thought patterns are a crucial part of a child’s social and emotional development.

Knowing that our thoughts lead to emotions and that those thoughts can be directed towards whatever we choose, gives the child a sense of control and responsibility for their feelings… the first steps towards emotional literacy.

According to Educational and Licensed School Psychologist Lori Jackson, MS, CAGS, “When you can’t manage your emotions, each event or activity can bring difficulties and challenges. That’s called emotional dysregulation. For kids, dysregulation makes life challenging, friendships difficult, and most significantly, it can make learning impossible.”

Below is a list of 4 simple activities teachers can implement as part of their morning routine before starting class that will teach their students the basic building blocks of emotional intelligence. These activities have a cumulative impact that will improve your classroom’s engagement levels and learning capabilities.

The Power of Thoughts. Every morning remind students that a thought is the beginning of everything that we see in the outside world. The chairs, the desks the clothes they are wearing were first an idea in someone’s head. Share the story of the airplane. Two hundred years ago there were no planes. Not because flying in the air was impossible, but because no one had thought of it, and if anyone thought about it, they did not act upon their ideas. We create things by acting upon our ideas. Therefore thought is the most powerful tool we have, and the possibilities to create are infinite. Let students know that with their thoughts and with what they repeatedly say about themselves they can create not only material things but also create their future.

Repeat Daily Affirmations. Everyday your class can set the intention to be peaceful or grateful or kind. Repetition breeds belief, and it is the most effective way to bring information to long-term memory. These are the messages they need to learn about themselves.

Connect to a Feeling. Ask students to connect with a happy feeling while listening to the affirmations and cognitive behavioral messages on a daily basis. This helps the brain produce “happy neurochemicals” and  positive emotions which produces a positive self reinforcing loop.

Silence. Start with just 2-5 minutes a day. During this time ask your student to identify two things that make them feel grateful and write them down. A “gratitude box” is to be kept in each classroom to remind them of the importance of looking at all the things that can make them feel grateful each day of their lives.

For more information on how to impart emotional learning into your classroom, contact www.triumphsteps.com or email triumph@triumphsteps.com.