Emotional validation

Emotional validation is a communication strategy that uses the act of tuning in, acknowledging, and accepting another person's feelings. Validation is a way of letting someone know we understand him or her. Being understood is an essential ingredient to feeling connected and supported. When you validate a child’s experience, you are letting them know they have a safe space to talk and process what they experienced 

Validating vs Reassurance 


  • Everything will be OK  
  • Don’t worry about your friends, you can make new ones  
  • It’s fine to miss your mummy/daddy? 



  • It might feel strange at first being in a new classroom.  
  • I can see that you’re feeling worried about not playing with your best friend  
  • I know you got used to spending all day with mummy/daddy.  It might feel strange for a while being in school but there are lots of nice people to help you.  


Tips for emotional validation 

  1. make a guess about how the student is feeling so you can be empathetic Recognizing and label the feeling in a sentence, e.g. You don’t seem yourself today. It can feel a bit scary when it’s your first day at school.  
  2. Set limits on the behaviour (if needed), e.g. We can’t throw furniture  
  3. Problem-solve with the child, e.g. How can I help you? Or Shall we find a friend who can take care of you?  


When to use this strategy?  

Try to use this strategy as behaviors start to escalate, in the ‘winding up’ phase. During the hotting up, blowing up, or ‘phew’ phase, support the child to access emotional/self-regulation tools.  

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This helps the emotions to stay on a level where the CYP can help to discuss a solution. 

Emotional regulation in EYFS 

RULER is an approach that can be used with younger children as a framework to support children's emotions throughout their day. The video below is an example of how this approach can be used in the classroom 

RULER stands for: Recognsing, Understanding, Labelling, Expressing, Regulating.

Page last updated 30-01-2023