In both schools and parenting classes, one of the earliest tools we teach is how to calm down when emotions are high. Regulating emotions is one of the most important skills we can develop, as without it, we would rarely be able to solve the problem that upset us in the first place.
I-Messages are an extension of the Bugs and Wishes Activity. Instead of saying "It bugs me when _______ and I wish you would ________," we include a specific feeling word to convey our emotions. We then state the problem and what we wish would happen instead.
A key part of expressing feelings is being able to name them. In this picture, we can see the feeling words children brainstormed to increase their emotional vocabulary. They started with the four basic feeling categories: Mad, Sad, Glad & Scared. From there, they brainstormed what more specific feelings fit in to each of those boxes. This chart provides a visible tool to help student identify feelings they want to express in the classroom.