5 Easy Emotional Check-Ins

Welcome Kate Endries, Director of Health & Wellness at BGCA, back to the ClubX Blog!

We all catch feelings from time to time.  No matter our age, gender, background, or personality, we all feel the same feelings.  But sometimes our Club members might not know how they are actually feeling or what to do about their feelings.  That’s where emotional check-ins can help! 

Try to incorporate emotional check-ins into your program every day.  For example, start off each day by doing a quick 1 minute check-in with youth as they enter your program space, again in the middle of program when you sense they are getting a little bit antsy, and at the end as you wrap up before they move on to their next activity.  These emotional check-ins can be formal and structured, or informal and on the fly.  The important thing is you are teaching your Club members to intentionally identify, reflect on, and share about their emotions.  The check-ins give you the opportunity to get a sense of how members are feeling, and who might need a little more help. 

Here are 5 easy emotional check-in ideas!

Internal Weather Report: Ask youth, “If your mood were the weather, what what would it be?” For example, if you’re angry it could be a thunderstorm, or if you’re happy it could be sunny. Give everyone a chance to think, then have everyone share with the group. They can choose to explain and elaborate on their feelings, or not.  

Feelings 1-10: Ask members, “Rank your mood today on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst mood and 10 being the best.” Have them share with the group by showing their ranking on their hands.  They can choose to explain and elaborate on their ranking, or not. 

Pop Culture: Ask members, “If your current mood were a song or movie, what would it be?” For example, if you’re having a great day your song could be “Happy” by Pharrell, or if you’re grumpy your movie could be “The Grinch.” Give everyone a chance to think, then have everyone share with the group. They can choose to explain and elaborate on their feelings, or not. 

Highs & Lows: Ask members to think of their “high and low” of the day – this is the best thing that happened to them during the day, and the worst thing that happened to them. Give everyone a chance to think, then have everyone share with the group. They can choose to explain and elaborate on their feelings, or not.

Rose, Bud, Thorn: Ask members to think of their “rose, bud, and thorn” of the day – this is the best thing that happened to them during the day (rose), something they’re looking forward to (bud), and the worst thing that happened to them today (thorn). Give everyone a chance to think, then go around the circle and have everyone share with the group. They can choose to explain and elaborate on their day and feelings, or not. 

Ultimately, it’s important for youth to know that it is OK to feel how they are feeling – everyone experiences a range of emotions every single day. It’s normal to feel sad, excited, angry, calm, or nervous every day, multiple times a day. What matters is how youth cope with these feelings.

Want more reflection and check-in ideas? Check out the YD Toolbox app!

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What are your favorite emotional check-ins? What other activities do you use to help youth identify their emotional state? Share in the comments, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email ClubXBlog@bgca.org!

 

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