Friday, December 11, 2020

Blog Tour: Skills for Big Feelings



A Guide to Teaching Kids Relaxation, Regulation, and Coping Techniques

Nonfiction; Education; Psychology; Child Development

Release Day: December 7, 2020

Publisher: Whole Child Counseling

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Help children develop healthy coping skills with this brilliant 12-week plan.

Are you an educator or mental health professional searching for guidance? Do you want to discover a powerful all-in-one program for helping kids manage their anxiety, regulate their emotions, and cope with their feelings? Then Skills for Big Feelings is the book for you!

Inside this heartfelt, comprehensive guide, you’ll join School Adjustment Counselor and Licensed Mental Health Counselor Casey O'Brien Martin as she reveals a powerful, practical framework to help children cope with anxiety, overcome stress, and learn to thrive. Built on a selection of proven cognitive behavioral techniques, breathing exercises, and mindfulness, as well as engaging activities including stretching, gratitude, visualization and positive self-talk, Skills for Big Feelings seeks to empower kids to embrace their emotional growth over the course of a comprehensive 12-week plan.

With over a dozen activities including accepting mistakes, identifying support systems, acknowledging triggers and much more, this complete guide provides educators and professionals alike with a detailed, objective-based framework for promoting optimal social-emotional health.


Family Resource 1: Naming Our Feelings


This week, we learned about the importance of naming our feelings. We also identified what it feels like in our bodies to have big feelings like stress, anger, sadness, anxiety, or worry. Most children experience a full range of emotions, but they do not yet have the emotional vocabularies to describe all the feelings that they experience beyond the basic terms like sad and mad. We started our first session by talking about what some of the big feeling words mean, such as stressed, angry, and worried. Here are some activities you can do at home to work on expanding your child’s emotional vocabulary:


·         Write down a big list of feeling words together.


·         Make a face and body posture that matches each feeling.


·         Create a noise to match each feeling.


·         Create “emotional thermometers” for different feeling states and discuss what would make the “temperature” of a feeling change (e.g., from fine to a little annoyed to disappointed to frustrated to mad to angry to furious to enraged).


·         When reading books or watching a movie, pause and ask what your child thinks certain characters are feeling and why they may be feeling that way. Discuss how body language and facial expressions give you clues to other people’s feelings.


·         Play emotions charades (i.e., take turns acting out a feeling nonverbally and guessing the feeling).


·         Talk about your own feelings in an appropriate manner. Remember some topics may not be appropriate for children, so be sure to use good boundaries when practicing this.


There is power in being able to name and acknowledge your feelings. In the book, The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind1, Siegel and Payne Bryson write about the importance of identifying feelings and how we can “name it to tame it.” When we engage the left side of our brain in thinking about the right word to describe our feelings, this can help diffuse our big feelings. Naming our feelings can also help us own them, which can help lessen their power over us.

You can model this by using your words to name and express feelings appropriately. It is help-ful for our children to see us doing this in our day to day lives. They need to see you using your words and naming how you feel, too. Here are some examples of this:


·         “I am feeling frustrated because your room is a mess.”


·         “I am feeling anxious because I have this big work deadline soon.”


·         “I am feeling irritated with your tone of voice.”


·         “I am so proud of how hard you worked on this project.”



About the Author

Casey O’Brien Martin, LMHC, REAT, RN is a School Adjustment Counselor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Registered Expressive Arts Therapist, and a Registered Nurse with a passion for helping children develop healthy coping skills and grow into confident, happy individuals.

Casey draws on her unique skillsets and interest to create mind-body programs designed to promote holistic wellbeing and emotional regulation in children of all ages, helping them to achieve their highest potential. She believes that teaching kids how to cope with anxiety and understand their feelings is an essential part of their personal growth, and she’s honored to be a part of this invaluable process.

Casey graduated from Lesley University, where she currently serves as an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences. For more information, visit

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