ensuring success in children age 0-5 in hardin and marshall county, iowa

Early childhood blog

Fill It Up!
By Carrie Kube, IRVECA Director


Fill it up…fill it up to the brim and let it overflow.


Similar to being a bucket filler, it’s called Filling the Emotional Cup. Like your car tank running on “E”, your child’s emotional cup can run a little low at times. And let’s face it…as adults, we know the feeling all too well.

From the authors of Upbility, we learn that every child has an emotional cup that needs to be filled with affection, love, security, and attention.

Empty Cup Behavior - When a child’s emotional cup is approaching empty, we may see behaviors such as these emerge:  attention-seeking behavior, fight or flight mode to get a refill, a sense of anxiety once they approach empty, “stealing” from another child’s emotional cup, appear to have a bottomless cup that always needs topping off, and/or can’t sit still or appear to bounce off the walls when their cup is empty,

What Empties The Cup - Pay attention to the child’s behavior, surroundings, and conversations to try and get a sense of what may be emptying the cup. Often it is caused by: stress and pressure to achieve, isolation or loneliness, yelling or punishment, rejection from peers, failing/not succeeding, fatigue, or being forced to do something they really don’t like. A child whose emotional cup is getting low will show emotions of embarrassment, angry, afraid, ashamed, confused or hurt.

What refills a child’s emotional cup? Any person in a child’s life can help fill their cup on a daily basis. This can be done through play, being a friend or good listener, one on one time together, offering lots of love and affection, forming a connection, helping them succeed, or being given the choice to do what they love. To help fill a child’s emotional cup, display emotions such as calm, cheerful, appreciation, energy, happy and joyous.

Mental health professionals note that while we can typically measure many aspects of a child's growth, a child’s mental wellbeing – their ability to function in society, handle their feelings and cope with the demands life throws at them – is much harder to quantify. 

It's only natural for children to get nervous from time to time when their cup gets near empty. When that does happen, we need to help “top it off”. I hope you have fun filling some emotional cups!!


Carrie Kube
Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Director
iarivervalleyeca@gmail.com
www.iowarivervalleyeca.com
Facebook and Instagram: @irveca


Disclosure: Carrie Kube is a Director for the Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area Board.  All thoughts and opinions expressed are that of the author and not the Board and/or its community partners.