Encouraging Emotional Intelligence with Books

Emotional Intelligence

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Part of giving children from hard places a voice is giving them a vocabulary for all the big feelings that overwhelm them. Helping them communicate verbally how they’re feeling can prevent them from using maladaptive behaviors instead. Depending on their history, they may have missed the stage of development where they should have acquired an emotions vocabulary. Re-visiting this developmental stage can be tricky when it seems like big emotions (and maladaptive expressions of them) are constantly hijacking your life. Sometimes exploring his own emotions is too intimidating, so starting with identifying the emotions of others is safer. Exploring illustrated storybooks can be an effective way to help your child start to put words to feelings.

Questions to ask might include:

  • What do you think the character is feeling?
  • What would be a good decision the character could make? What would be a bad decision?
  • Have you ever felt the way the character is feeling?
  • Can you make your face look the way the character is feeling?
  • Not a question, but try just flipping through and naming the emotions illustrated throughout the book.

Check out books from the authors below to get started.

Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes

Patricia Polacco

Patricia Polacco

Mo Willems

Mo Willems

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