Understanding big feelings for the under fives: Using quality children’s media for good during challenging times

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  Published on Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Understanding big feelings for the under fives: Using quality children’s media for good during challenging times

Library Home  >  ABC Kids Early Education Resources
  Published on Wednesday, 22 September 2021
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ABC Kids Early Education

ABC Kids Early Education is a popular online destination for parents and child care educators alike, packed with resources, videos and games for little ones. As part of CareforKids.com.au commitment to supporting the education of children from birth to school age, we have partnered with ABC Kids Early Education to bring you the latest information on topics that are relevant to you and your family. 

If your family is affected by the current covid lockdowns, chances are you and your children are feeling more than your fair share of big emotions! Routines have been set aside as we spend our days at home amidst the juggle of domestic duties, parents working and older siblings learning online. These times of uncertainty impact all of us in different ways – and as we know, our young children are not immune to the emotional toll.

Good mental health is such an important part of holistic child development. Sadly though, diagnosable mental health conditions for 4 - 11-year-olds are on the rise1 and the effects of the pandemic on some children are predicted to be long-term.2   We also know that children are more likely to be spending time on screens during lockdown.

So how can screen time be used for good during challenging times? This post will highlight some worthy options available via ABC Kids that will not only help to engage and entertain your children, but also offer some great real-world ideas to support your child’s emotional wellbeing, during lockdown and beyond.

Exploring big feelings through the screen

There are many ways that we as parents can help our young children to feel good on the inside. One way is to help them make great choices when engaging with technology and media.  Fortunately, the debate about ‘screen time’ is shifting, with more emphasis being put on the quality of content and maintaining a balanced digital diet, rather than feeling guilty about screen time full stop.

There are plenty of great media options out there that support children understand and communicate their emotions right from the start. Even the simple act of identifying emotions can make them less overwhelming or scary.

Watching the Play School: Stop, Look, Listen or Moodies 1-2 minute episodes together can help children understand and name their big feelings. After watching, encourage kids to share how they feel using words like anxious, sad, happy, calm, silly, angry or lonely. Having their feelings validated is so important for a young child’s emotional development. Parents can also help toddlers and preschoolers embrace their emotions by teaching ways to move and respond with their bodies. The Moodies: Angry episode shows children how to do a ‘silent lion roar’ when they feel angry, to help them feel calm.


Mindfulness and calm kids

Simple mindfulness techniques can help children deal with big feelings during these topsy turvy times. Mindfulness can ease anxiety, improve concentration and equip children some practical skills to calm themselves when they feel upset or frustrated. I’d encourage any parent out there with a 3-5 year old to take a look at the Play School: Mindfully Me episode for some great games to build mindfulness and emotional coping tools in children.

In this ABC Kids Early Education article, Dr Ben Deery (an early childhood mindfulness expert from The University of Melbourne) suggests a range of activities to try after watching Play School: Mindfully Me. One idea is ‘Mindful Munching’, where preschoolers pretend they’re an alien who has never seen food before. Get your child to explore different foods with their multiple senses before they even start to eat it. Then ask your child to start to eat it like they are in slow-motion. When they eat like this, what does this strange food feel like, taste like, can they still smell it? What do they think of this out-of-this world food?

ABC Kids iview is currently featuring a Calm Kids collection of programs designed to help children aged under 8 years learn how to be calm and mindful such as Humpty's Big Adventure: Yoga and The Mindfulness Tool Kit to practice core breathing. The ABC Kids listen Soundwalks mindfulness podcasts can also help everyone wind down through guided relaxations. From working through big feelings and letting go of stress, to finding joy or getting ready for the day Soundwalks uses the soothing sounds of Australian nature to help kids connect with the present, and themselves.

These short audio and video programs are so useful to break up the lockdown monotony - not only for little ones, but they can help the whole family connect, relax, re-focus and be ready to return to online school or work again.

Health and Wellbeing resources

The ABC Kids Early Education Health and Wellbeing Curriculum Area page has a collection of resources to support families in understanding mindfulness and the coronavirus with kids including: 


  1. Emerging Minds: What is child mental health?
  2. Murdoch Children's Research Institute: Long term impacts of COVID-19
  3. Raising Children Network: Good mental health for children: 3-8 years

About the author:

Linda Harrison has over 20 years' experience as a teacher and consultant in the early childhood education profession. She is currently an Early Education Consultant for ABC Kids Early Education, developing teaching resources emerging from ABC Kids children's programs, books and podcasts.

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Thursday, 16 September 2021

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