Second Step Newsletter

January/February 2021

Understanding Our Emotions

At some time or another, we all experience strong emotions. Feelings like anger, frustration, anxiety, or even excitement can be hard to manage. We need to be aware of what happens in our body and in our brain when we experience strong emotions.

Our Body...

Second Step students are learning to pay close attention to what is happening in their bodies as they experience strong emotions. They can identify if a feeling is comfortable or uncomfortable. Students are also learning that if they are having a strong feeling, their muscles may tighten up, their belly may hurt or have butterflies, their heart may pound faster, they may experience faster breathing, and they may feel hot with red cheeks and sweaty palms. Our body sends us many clues when we are experiencing strong feelings. These clues help us understand that we need to calm down!
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Mood Walk - Blazer Fresh | GoNoodle

Our Brain...

Older Second Step students are learning about what happens inside their brains when they experience strong emotions. When our brain is overwhelmed with feelings and messages, it is hard to think clearly. When we can't think clearly, it's difficult to make respectful decisions. Ask your Second Step student to demonstrate the "hand brain" which shows what happens as our brain experiences a strong emotion.
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How to Calm Down

Second Step students are learning and practicing a three step process to calm down:


Here's how it works:

  1. Stop - Use a stop signal to stop the chaos that goes on in your brain and body when strong emotions take over. Words like stop, freeze, chill, or hold on are good signals to begin the calm down process.
  2. Name Your Feeling - When you name your feeling, it helps to activate the thinking part of your brain so that you don't just react and do something you might regret. Example: I'm feeling really angry because my brother broke my Nintendo Switch!
  3. Calm Down - Belly Breathe, Count, or Use Positive Self Talk. There are many other ways to calm down, however Second Step teaches strategies that can be used in any situation at any time.
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The Calm Down Song - K & 1st Grade Second Step Song

Calm down song- second step 1st grade

The Calm It Down Dance - 2nd & 3rd Grade Second Step Song

Calm it Down Dance

Calm Down - 4th & 5th Grade Second Step Song

Name your feeling calm down song by second step

What is Belly Breathing?

Belly breathing is the practice of taking slow, deep, and controlled breaths to calm down. Slow, deep breathing gets more oxygen to your lungs and heart. It gives your body the message that everything is okay. That helps you calm down! The video below demonstrated how to belly breathe to calm down.
Belly Breathing Meridian
Slow Breathing Part 1: Listen

Counting to Calm Down

Counting is a way to calm down that can be used with or without belly breathing. Focusing on the numbers while you count gives you a much needed mental time-out from the situation that is causing the strong emotion. Remember, it doesn't matter how you count - forward, backward, or skip counting - as long as you are focused on the numbers. This strategy will help you avoid saying or doing something that could make the situation worse.
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Count, Breathe, Relax

How to Use Positive Self Talk

Self talk is when you talk to yourself in your head or in a quiet voice to calm down and get focused. Self talk affects how you feel. Negative self talk will make a strong feeling even stronger! Positive self talk, however, helps you calm down and think about what to do next.
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Nine Other Ways for Kids to Calm Down

For more information or for questions about Second Step, please contact:

Shelby Liebegott at