The Feelings Thermometer

When a child is stuck in a feeling, it can be hard for them to even imagine feeling any differently. Enter the feelings thermometer.

By Momentous Institute | Jan 05, 2015

Sometimes children feel really, really happy, or really, really sad. When they’re stuck in those feelings, it can be hard for them to imagine feeling any differently. But we know that feelings come and go. But how do they come and go?
Think of feelings like a thermometer. Instead of expecting a child to go from very angry all the way to the bottom of the thermometer, try getting the child to just move down one or two degrees. Ask questions such as, “What would need to happen for you to go down one degree?” “What would one degree less than what you’re feeling now look like?” “What would you notice if you went down one degree?”
Sometimes it’s the first step that makes the difference – getting them from explosive to reasonable. Then you can work with them to walk them down the rest of the thermometer and cool off.