How Concordia Helps Preschoolers with Emotions

It can be devastating when a part of your toy lawn mower breaks.

As my child was sobbing and sitting on my lap, my sister, mother-in-law, and husband tried to distract him and cheer him up.

Morty looked at them and sniffled, “I just want to be sad right now.”

“Wow,” my sister said. “It took me about 30 years to learn how to articulate that.”

“Yes, that’s all Concordia,” my husband responded.

We started laughing because we all tend to veer towards stoicism, peppiness, or distraction rather than sit and process our feelings. Morty started at Concordia on Whipple at six months and now, at age four, has an understanding of complex emotions and the language to discuss it.

It’s clear that at Concordia Place, learning about emotions and how to process them is as valued as learning numbers and letters. In a small group in his preschool class, they talked about emotions, with children identifying a shape. The shape was turned into an “emotion puppet” using art materials.

Some days, whether it’s because he can’t have another cookie or because we are making him rest, Morty will say “I’m sad, and that’s ok.” We talk about how all feelings are okay, but if someone feels sad for a long time it’s okay to ask for help. When he’s crying, we encourage him to practice what one Concordia teacher told him, which is “sniff the flowers and blow out the candles.” That deep breathing exercise is, in our experience, a much more effective way to manage preschooler tantrums.

Children often model what they see, whether it’s at home or school. Concordia has been a wonderful partner in helping us understand preschooler emotions.