Emotions play a critical role in everyday life and affect a majority of the choices we make. Having the ability to express, regulate and understand one’s own emotions, as well as those of others – commonly known as emotional competence or intelligence – is linked to higher social skills and academic achievement.
Differences in emotional competence can be observed as early as the toddler years. Some children will throw a temper tantrum when they don’t get the toy they want, while others who have the ability to self-regulate themselves, will not. One of the most common ways children learn about emotions is through those consistently around them. Interactions with surrounding family members, close friends, schoolmates/teachers, and those close in the community allow for valuable opportunities for a child to identify and understand emotions.
For those stuck at home during the pandemic, we have compiled a list of books helpful in teaching young children all about complicated feelings that often feel too big to keep inside, from sadness to jealousy to happiness. Although still a fairly abstract concept for young children, supporting children in their early understanding of emotions and allowing them to feel all the feels is the first step in ultimately teaching them how to cope and resolve them as they continue to grow.
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