What Is An Emotions Check-In?
An emotions check-in is a semi-structured time that allows children and teenagers to ask themselves how they are feeling. By integrating a daily feelings check-in into the day, it can help make sure the needs of every learner are met. Sometimes kids are struggling with problems or challenges that we don’t see. Quite often, these challenges impact students during the academic day, even if we don’t see the true reason. A check-in can help us understand those struggles and problem-solve together. Giving them a chance to open up and talk about how they are feeling is also paramount to helping them be at their very best.
Why Is An Emotions Check-In Important?
Understanding how kids and teens are feeling is critical. There are other benefits to a daily feelings check-in, too. Here are just a few:
- A daily check-in builds relationships by letting kids know we care.
- It helps learners build self-awareness.
- Naming emotions can help us cope with those feelings.
- It is a proactive problem-solving tool.
- Check-ins normalize talking about emotions.
- A daily check-in brings calm and mindfulness to the day.
Here are daily emotions check-in ideas you can try:
Feelings Check-In Worksheet
Use a one-page daily emotions check-in page to help students express how they feel and what they need. Each day, learners can circle how they are feeling, explain why they feel this way, and identify what could help improve their mood. Students can even share anything else that is on their mind with you. Use this free daily Emotions Check-In page to start.
Choose an Emoji
Keep a list of emojis on the board or to pass out to students. Have them choose an emoji that shows how they feel. They can circle the emoji or draw it for you.
SEL Check-in Journal
Use a daily Social Emotional Learning Check-in Journal to start the day off with an emotions check-in and more. Students will check-in with their feelings, recite a positive affirmation of the day, learn about a new social-emotional skill, and practice mindfulness before moving on. This SEL Check-In Journal for the year includes everything you’ll need.
Daily Journal Free Write
Give time for a simple free-write time in the morning. Have students respond to: How are you feeling? What is on your mind? What would you like to share with me? Students can keep their journals or turn them in to you if they feel like they need you to read their day’s message. You can even give these prompts digitally if that works best!
Mindful Morning Check-In
Use a 5-4-3-2-1 check-in to help start the day off with mindfulness. The steps include taking 5 deep breaths, listing 4 things you can see around you, identifying 3 things you are grateful for, saying 2 positive self-talk statements, and naming 1 thing you are looking forward to. It is such a simple and meaningful way to start the day. Grab this free Mindful Morning Check-In to give it a try.
Using a scale from 1-5, have students identify how they are doing. Come up with the scale together and discuss. For example, 5 might mean “I’m doing great,” while 1 might mean, “I am struggling and need help.” Students can write their numbers down on a sticky note and pass them in to you. Another option is to have students put their heads down with eyes closed and just hold up a number with their fingers. This can give educators a quick look at how the class is doing as a whole and who might need an extra check-in throughout the day.
5-Step “PASTA” Emotions Check-In
Go through this simple 5-step check-in by following the prompts that spell out PASTA. First, pause and breathe just for a moment. Ask yourself how you feel. Say that emotion word out loud or write them down. Then, sit with those feelings for a bit. Finally, ask yourself what you need. Use this free 5-step Daily PASTA Check-In Activity to give it a try.
Google Form Check-In
Build your own simple Google Form check-in. This allows students to digitally answer how they’re feeling and what they might need. Make it part of their morning routine to fill out the form and send it your way. This can help you to know which students need extra support throughout the day.
Executive Functioning Check-In Journal
Use an Executive Functioning Check-In Journal to check in with emotions and teach critical EF skills at the same time. Each day includes a feelings check-in, a spot to plan the day, a brain break, and learning a new executive functioning skill. Use this complete journal to teach skills like planning, organization, self-control, and attention throughout the entire year.
Make a daily emotions check-in more hands-on with an emotions wheel. Students can put their wheels together and use them each morning to identify how they feel and what they need. This can also be a helpful tool for a calm-down area in the classroom.
Remember that a daily emotions check-in is the most powerful when you implement it every day as part of your routine. Give one of the activities above a try!