Use books to teach kids about emotions
When kids are young, talking about emotions can be challenging — and that inability to talk about their feelings can lead to tantrums and misunderstandings. Fabulous children’s books can help your kids express their feelings in words and expressions. We love these eight books to teach kids about emotions.
Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberley and Anne Miranda is a rollicking, silly book about the full range of emotions children — and adults — feel (Amazon, $11). The book provides masks for children and the adults reading the book with them to try on, so kids have the chance to identify how the emotions look, as well as how they feel.
Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis is a fun, rhyming look at the different moods children experience (Amazon, $15). In addition to the rhyming verses, the colorful, expressive illustrations truly show emotions, giving kids a solid foundation for the varying moods in which they find themselves.
When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry… by Molly Bang explores the intense emotions experienced during normal sibling arguments (Amazon, $6). The book relies on vivid colors and imagery, with minimal text, so parents can tailor the book’s message for children of different ages. Children will see how some time away from her sister helps Sophie’s anger fade into more manageable emotions.
The Way I Feel by Janan Cain is a wacky, silly look at different emotions, like joy, disappointment, and sadness (Amazon, $12). The text is simple, which is extremely helpful when navigating the different ways kids can put their feelings into words. The book deals with complicated emotions, like boredom, kids may feel without understanding the concept or verbalization of the emotion, so Cain’s book gives them the language they need to express how they’re feeling.
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss assigns moods to each color in the signature rhyming style of the iconic children’s author (Amazon, $7). The book is illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher — Theodor Geisel himself requested the book be illustrated by a color artist. Now available as a board book, the book serves the dual purposes of teaching colors and emotions to toddlers and young children.
Mean Soup by Betsy Everitt shows a young boy and his mom working through his frustration and anger by making “mean soup” together (Amazon, $8). Horace and his mom put his emotions into the soup through word and physical movements until his day doesn’t seem so bad anymore. The illustrations are bright and large, making the book a good one for young children.
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook takes a lighthearted look at a serious subject (Amazon, $10). Young children experience anxiety, and parents can help provide tools kids can use to work through their anxious feelings, especially if the anxiety is interfering in the way children go about their daily lives. Cook’s book provides tangible tips, including some for anxiety over issues that can’t be controlled — like the weather.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud helps kids learn about the ways their positive words and actions affect others (Amazon, $10). The words are simple and straightforward, and the message is one that can be reinforced daily. My daughter’s school uses the language with the students — and has a decorated bucket as a visual reminder in the window of the front office. McCloud’s guide is a wonderful way to emphasize positive actions and how much kindness matters.
For more fabulous children’s book recommendations, check out 10 children’s books we love.
What are your top tips for helping kids express their emotions?
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