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How the Emotion Meter Helps Kids Control Feelings + Video

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Out-of-control feelings are difficult for everyone. For children emotions are almost impossible to regulate unless they are taught how. Today, you'll receive an easy and powerful method you can use both for your child and for yourself. It's called, "The Emotion Meter."

Below you'll find a short video showing in step-by-step detail how to use the Emotion Meter.

Why Use The Emotion Meter?

The Sad Child

Imagine your child feels gloomy and sad way too often. Like wearing dark-colored glasses, she easily thinks depressing thoughts. Her mood is a drag on the family. You've tried everything like:

1. Trying to get her to laugh.
2. Yelling, "Snap out of it."
3. Saying "Look on the bright side."
4. Calling her "Gloomy Gertie."
5. Ignoring her.

Nothing works. Her sad face casts a somber shadow on the whole family. What will you do? Use the Emotion Meter.

The Angry Child

Your son's anger is like a hot coal. He throws it toward each family member. Heated arguments are his specialty. The whole family fears his rage. Perhaps you've tried:

1. Changing his mood.
2. Doing what he wants.
3. Agreeing with him.
4. Arguing with him.
5. Avoiding him.

Again nothing works. The air is filled with his smoldering rage. Each member wonders, "If I don't do what he wants, will he explode?" You know something needs to be done, but what? Teach the Emotion Meter.

The Fearful Child

Perhaps your boy won't try in school, at sports, or do anything new because he's afraid of failing. His fear is like a little darkroom where he develops anxious pictures. You've tried to help him overcome his fear by:

1. Pushing him.
2. Teasing him.
3. Begging him.
4. Giving in to him.
5. Yelling, "Quit being afraid!"

None of your strategies work. You ask yourself, "How will he ever make it in life?" You can help. Teach him the Emotion Meter.

The Over-Sensitive Child

Let's say your daughter repeats, "I'm sorry," a lot. She worries about her sad sister and apologizes to her angry brother. She acts as if she's responsible for everyone's feelings. She has a self-blaming switch. She doesn't know how to turn it off. You've attempted to help her by saying:

1. "It's not your fault."
2. "Quit being so sensitive!"
3. "Don't mind their moods."
4. "Stop blaming yourself!"
5. "Quit saying, ‘I'm sorry."

No matter how hard you try, her extreme sensitivity continues. The family tires of hearing her apologies. You don't know what to do. Try the Emotion Meter.

How to Introduce the Emotion Meter

1. Pick a time when your child is in a good mood.
2. Choose a private place to talk.
3. Discuss the problems out-of-control feelings cause.
4. Ask, "What feeling is hard for you to control?"
5. Say, "Your powerful brain can help."
6. Inquire, "Are you willing to use your imagination to control it?" (You'll need your child's cooperation.)

Drawing Activity for Students

Draw a meter curved like an arc into 4 equal parts.

From left to right label the parts: Poor, Fair, Good, and Excellent.

Lightly pencil a needle pointing to Poor.

Parent-Child Interactive Method

Tell your child, "Imagine the feeling you'd like to change."

In a slow, calm voice say:

"Close your eyes." (Pause 5 seconds)
"Take 3 deep breaths". (Pause 5 seconds)
"Picture your feelings at Poor. (Pause 5 seconds)
"Move the needle up. (Pause 5 seconds)
"Take all the time you need. (Pause 5 seconds)
"Move the needle up again. (Pause 5 seconds)
"You CAN change the feeling. (Pause 5 seconds)
"Your powerful mind is moving the needle up. (Pause 5 seconds)
"Open your eyes. Lightly pencil where your needle is now.
"Repeat until the needle reaches "Good" or "Excellent."

Assure your child, "No matter what the emotion, your brain has the power to make it better." Say, "Use your Emotion Meter whenever you need it."

Depending on the situation, handling an emotion at the "Good" level may make more sense than "Excellent."

Conclusion: Helping Your Child Handle Out-of-Control Emotions

Teaching children how to deal with difficult feelings helps them discipline themselves. With the Emotion Meter your guidance will help put them in charge of their own reactions. We call this kind of discipline, self-regulation.

With the Emotion Meter your children will have a strategy to use throughout their lives. They'll still feel emotions but they won't be hurting themselves or others because their feelings won't be out-of-control. They'll be happier too.

The short video showing in step-by-step detail how to use the Emotion Meter is below.


Watch the Video How Parents and Kids Discuss Feelings and enjoy helping your child master his feelings.

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