How to Manage Extreme Emotions

How to Manage Extreme Emotions Video


Pre-Video Conversation:

During this quarantine experience, we have all experienced many emotions. This is another word for feelings.

Give me a thumbs up if you can think of a time you felt happy during the quarantine. (Pick one student to share when they experienced this feeling.)

Give me a thumbs up if you felt angry during the quarantine. (Pick one student to share when they experienced this feeling.)

Give me a thumbs up if you felt disappointed (let down) during the quarantine. (Pick one student to share when they experienced this feeling.)

Give me a thumbs up if you felt lonely during the quarantine. (Pick one student to share when they experienced this feeling.)

We all have had a lot of feelings during this time. It’s good to have feelings, and all different types of feelings are okay. Sometimes we just need help learning to manage feelings if they are big or extreme. Extreme feelings are big emotions like terror (or lots of fear) or anger. When you are having extreme emotions you are feeling out of control and have a tough time making good choices (Kuypers, 2011) and staying safe. When we are acting in ways that are unsafe, we must try to find ways to stop and calm down. Remember, the choices we make affect everything around us.

Today we are going to watch a video about how to manage extreme (big) emotions. We are going to travel back in time in the Quarantine Time Machine with Cory, Tina, and Pops and see how they learned to manage their emotions during their quarantine experience. They are going to learn to determine the size of their problem, how to tell when an extreme emotion may be coming, and strategies to help themselves feel better when these extreme emotions arise.

Post Video Conversation:

What did Cory and Tina do to handle their feelings?
Where did Cory and Tina feel their feelings in their bodies?
Think about where you feel big emotions in your body?
If you feel that change in your body, that is a sign that a big emotion may be coming and you need
to try some things to calm down.
What did Pops teach Cory and Tina to do when they felt a big emotion in their body?
What can you do to calm down if you feel a big emotion coming?


• What feelings have you felt in quarantine?
• Where in your body do you feel your big feelings?
• How big is my problem?
• Feelings Word Bank

Home Connection:

• Send Parents & Guardians Mental Health Expert Advice on Managing Extreme Emotions
• Have your students create a calming space in their homes that they can go to when they feel extreme emotions. Calming spaces can be any designated place in the home where the child feels safe (e.g., bedroom, corner of the office, etc.) Just be sure to have the children ask their parents to be sure the location can be supervised. Items that can go into a calming space can include:
○ Writing materials
○ Paper for coloring, writing or tearing
○ A feelings chart with a “How are you feeling?” prompt
○ A mirror to see what those emotions really LOOK like
○ Play-doh
○ A glitter wand/bottle
○ Books
○ A Stress ball
○ A Stuffed animal to cuddle…

It is important to note that the Calm Place or Think Space should NOT be used for punishment. It is a place for kids to go to process their feelings and develop positive coping strategies to deal with problems (Labee, 2016).
Labee, C. (2016, May 17) Think Space: Educating the Heart and the Mind for Success in the Classroom and Beyond.


It is highly recommended that you give students the option to use their paper puppets when sharing in class conversations. For many students using the puppet helps them to be more comfortable, open, and honest.

Help Us Keep Providing Great Content


Draw and write about the different feelings you have experienced during the quarantine. (Use the word bank if needed.)

Get a piece of paper or print out the activity pdf in English or activity pdf in Spanish. If you don’t have a printer you can draw the face and figure or let the child draw them.

I felt ______________ when _______________ and I wish _________________. I felt _____________ when ___________________ and I wish ___________________.



Color in your body where you feel extreme (big) emotions.

When I feel an extreme (big) emotion in my body, I know a big reaction may be coming.

• Take a deep breath
• Say how I feel
• Take a break in a quiet space
• Determine the size of my problem

How Big is my Problem?
Are these problems Big, Medium, Small, Tiny or No Problem at all? Answers may vary and that’s ok. Write or color your responses.

I need a pencil or eraser. ______________________
I feel a little bit sad. ______________________
Someone is being mean to me. ___________________
I am playing with my friends. ______________________
I am too hot or too cold. ______________________
I am hurt. _________________________
I am hungry or thirsty. __________________
I am having fun. ________________________
I am nervous. _______________________
There is an emergency. _____________________
I can do my school work. _____________________

No Problem (green) – I can feel happy and enjoy my day.
Tiny Problem (blue) – I can feel annoyed and fix the problem.
Small Problem (yellow) – I can feel worried and confused and ask for help.
Medium Problem (orange) – I can feel sad or frustrated, take a deep breath, count to 10 and ask for help.
Big Problem (red) – I can scream, cry, and get an adult immediately.

Happy    Worried    Unsafe    Grateful    Brave
Hurt    Frustrated    Afraid    Tired    Sad
Peaceful    Angry    Surprised    Confused    Proud
Safe    Excited    Grumpy    Joyful    Alone
Lonely    Hopeful    Embarrassed    Anxious    Loved

Content    Ashamed    Disappointed    Irritated
Depressed    Annoyed    Creative    Insecure
Distant    Vulnerable    Isolated    Overwhelmed
Helpless    Secure    Hopeful    Relieved
Optimistic    Appreciated    Miserable    Resentful


It’s not uncommon for us to experience extreme emotions when we have increased levels of stress. Ever wonder why your child’s reaction doesn’t match the size of problem (or inconvenience) they’re experiencing? A meltdown over spilled milk when your beloved is normally even keeled? There may be something behind this reaction and many things can impact how we respond to stressful events (e.g., lack of sleep, poor nutrition, lack of exercise and self-care). Sometimes our cup is so full with ongoing stress and emotion we overflow easily and sometimes we need some instruction on HOW to respond to different social situations. Talking to a trusted adult about feelings can be very cathartic for children (and adults). As you are supporting your child(ren)/students remember it’s important to separate the child from their behavior (you may not approve of the behavior, but still love them as a person). Here are a few talking points you might want to consider when someone comes to you feeling overwhelmed.

• Validate his/her feelings.
• Offer a patient, listening ear to help your child/student process the story how THEY see it without passing judgement. If there is more than one side of the story allow each party to share their version without interruption. Clarifications can be made after the story is told.
• Provide information in a calm way that may help clarify the situation.
• Help your child problem solve independently by asking open-ended questions.
• Monitor your own level of stress and your reaction to problematic situations. Are you modeling positive coping strategies and resilience? Your child is watching and can even sense what you are not saying.
• Demonstrate positive thinking even if you don’t buy it 100% yourself. Say your positive thoughts
out loud!

• Help your child to identify the emotions they may be experiencing.
• Ask them to determine the size of their problem (ideally, we’d like for the reaction to match the size of the problem). This may need to be taught and practiced.
• Further enhance your child’s feeling vocabulary by exploring similar emotions together (see Feelings Wheel below).
• Encourage your child to pinpoint where in their body they feel that emotion (e.g., pressure/heat in the head, lump in the throat, tummy ache, etc.).
• Teach them to scan their body for that feeling in the future to determine if an explosion may be on the horizon.
• Role play problem solving strategies to address the source of stress.
• If you’re having difficulty managing your own emotions it may mean you’re in need of some selfcare. Build it into your schedule so you’ll be better able to take care of your loved ones!
• Always make time to reconnect with your child/student after an explosive event.



Geoffrey Roberts Feelings Wheel (Originally created by Dr. Gloria Wilcox)

Kuypers, L. M. (2011). The Zones of Regulation: A Curriculum Designed to Foster SelfRegulation and Emotional Control. SanJose, CA: Think Social Publishing, Inc.

Think Space: Educating the Heart and the Mind for Success in the Classroom and Beyond

Helping Traumatized Children Learn (Free downloadable book)


Help Us Keep Providing Great Content

Please take a minute to complete our simple registration form. It helps us keep bringing you great content. 

Subscribe to DRAA's newsletter

What school grade/s do you intend to use this for? (check all that apply)

What is your relationship to the student/s?

5 + 13 =

Translate »