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How to Help Your 3-4 Year Old Manage Their Emotions at School

Your Child’s Budding Emotional Regulation Skills Are Easy to Nurture When You Recognize the Signs

Are your child’s tantrums getting shorter in length when you leave them at school or daycare? Does your child change their behavior in different settings, like at school or home? Good news: Those are Social-Emotional milestones that your child is achieving! These milestones are related to your child’s emotional regulation skills.

Emotional regulation is when we recognize emotions as we feel them, how we experience our emotions, and how we express those emotions. Developing healthy emotional regulation skills supports your child’s physical & mental health and strengthens their social support system.

Here are some easy ways to help your child manage their emotions at school:

  • Teach your child how to take deep breaths to calm themselves down. Explain to your child that when they feel upset, sad, angry, or scared at school they can practice taking a few big, deep, breaths to feel better. Teach them to breathe in through their nose & out through their mouth. An easy way to teach this skill to young children is to tell them to imagine sniffing a big flower and then blowing all the seeds off of a dandelion.
  • Tell your child that their emotions are valid. Teaching your child that their emotions are valid helps them to see emotion as normal and something they can safely navigate. When kids feel safe with their emotions they are more likely to develop strong and healthy emotional regulation skills.
  • Ask your child’s teacher what their rules are for helping children manage emotions. This way, you can reinforce helpful practices their teachers use during the day while your child is at home. If your child is struggling with different rules for managing emotions at school versus at home or other settings, identifying those differences can help you make a supportive and consistent plan for your child.
Two happy, young, children play on the floor with several Crafties and their Storypod speaker
In photo: Craftie Sub, Little Red Riding Hood, iCraftie Owl, Craftie Fox, Memory Monster, The Tortoise and The Hare, Craftie Plane Crafties, Storypod speaker, and interchangeable sleeve.

Storypod can help your child learn to manage their emotions in the following ways:

Our Audio Experiences use Social-Emotional Learning as a foundation. Many of our Crafties (like Rapunzel’s tale of The Ugly Duckling) talk about learning to manage big emotions. Little Red Riding Hood helps your child contextualize emotions in different settings (like in the woods or at Grandma’s).

Daniel Tiger experiences frustration in and out of school and learns to navigate that in a healthy way. Sammy Songbird talks about feeling nervous or anxious while incorporating fun songs and dances to help relieve those feelings. Elinor Wonders Why encourages curiosity and learning in children, especially in regards to learning to ask questions and resting to take care of oneself after a big day.

Our read-along audiobooks, like Spike: The Penguin with Rainbow Hair, provide your child with helpful stories about beloved characters navigating big emotions. Meet Rambee Boo models appropriate emotional responses at home, the park, out shopping, or at the library. Searching For Ooh is about friends being concerned for one another and working to help each other. Those are big feelings that your 3 - 4 year old is learning to navigate as they make friends at school or daycare. Rambee Boo Loves Mom Too! models feeling alarmed, guilty or upset and moving through those emotions in a solution-focused and positive way.


  1. From the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning: Fundamentals of SEL
  2. From UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center: SEL for Students: Emotion Regulation
  3. From the academic research of James Gross: Emotion regulation: affective, cognitive, and social consequences
  4. From VeryWell Family: How to Help a Highly Emotional Child Cope With Big Feelings
  5. From The Gottman Institute: An Age-By-Age Guide to Helping Kids Manage Emotions

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The award-winning audio system that engages kids with multisensory stories, music and skill-building.