Category Archives: Social & Emotional

The go-to tool to teach emotional intelligence

Books can be effective tools to help your child identify different emotions and learn how to cope with complex feelings.

The first years of your child’s life are normally an incredibly happy time for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that your baby does not experience other feelings. Current research suggests that a baby is born with around nine different emotions: interest, enjoyment, surprise, distress, anger, fear, shame, disgust, and dissmell. Over time, those feelings combine with each other and with experiences to form more complex ones. At times, babies and toddlers have trouble expressing their more difficult feelings, they have to cope with anger and fears as they grow. Those feelings can stem from challenging experiences like moving to a new home, losing a loved one or having a new brother or sister join the family. These changes often cause confusion.

As a parent, it’s tough to not be able to understand how your baby is feeling – after all, he or she is not able to put into words what he or she is going through. That causes frustration, imagine not being able to explain or even understand what you are feeling! Books can be useful tools to help your child identify and make sense of those feelings, and they help parents teach children how to deal with difficult feelings and situations. There are a lot of great books out there that were designed to help babies and toddlers begin to distinguish between different emotions. Reading them, and then talking about them together will certainly help!
I would like to recommend two books that I have found very useful – and am personally very fond of:

foto I am happy

 

I Am Happy: A Touch-and-Feel Book of Feelings by Steve Light is a great book for both babies and toddlers. It invites the reader to “touch” and “feel” different emotions by offering a variety of textures to touch. For example, the last page says ‘Every day I feel loved’ and has a picture of a baby tucked in bed under a soft blanket. The softness of the blanket represents the emotion of love. Your little one will love this special hands-on experience every time!

foto when i am : cuando estoy

 

When I Am/ Cuando Estoy by Gladys Rosa-Mendoza is another great addition to your toddler’s collection. The text is in both English and Spanish, so you can read both or choose one. The pages capture what a child could do when he or she experiences different emotions like happy, sad, angry, worried, scared, and surprised. Your child will easily relate to the common situations that are presented on the pages.

 

 

Do you have book recommendations of your own? Please share them by writing a comment below! Keep coming back for more information about the perks of reading to your child and suitable book suggestions!

9 ways to raise resilient kids

As parents, we are constantly trying to minimize fear and uncertainty for our kids, but are we doing the right thing? How can we manage to provide affection and understanding instead of transmitting anxiety and fear? We need to understand that is not possible for us to protect our children from all the dangers and disappointments in this world. However, this is not to say that they should go figure everything out on their own – parents do play an important role in providing children with the tools to navigate life successfully and raising them to be resilient adults.

What exactly does it mean to be resilient? According to the American Psychological Association (APA), resilience is “the ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress”. Unlike what most people may think when talking about resilience, these people are not unaffected by adversity, but are instead able to cope and overcome challenges effectively, even coming out strengthened by the events!

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Developmental Edge: The Serious Need for Imaginative Play

When people think of play, they automatically think of children engaging in physical exercises such as tag, ball games, or playing on slides and swings – in other words, kids exploring their physical environments. Play has been shown to be a key component in development in a child’s early years – even the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights has recognized it as a right for every child! But although physical play is the first thing that comes to mind, this is not the only kind of play. In fact, there is another type of play – imaginative or pretend play – that has caught the eye of many researchers, educators, and psychologists because of the many benefits it may provide.

According to Laura E. Berk, renowned professor and researcher in the field of child development, imaginative play stimulates the senses and generates opportunities for exploration and creative thinking that can help your little one improve various language, emotional, social, and cognitive skills – including creativity, impulse inhibition, and empathy!

Given the importance of pretend play, many parents may wonder at what age does pretend play start to emerge in children?

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Developmental Edge: When praise backfires, the secret behind motivation

The praise parents give to their kids can strongly influence their self-esteem, intelligence, and disposition to take on challenges. However, according to new studies, certain types of praise may actually do more harm than good. For example, saying: “you are so smart”, may not be the best type of praise – it could even discourage a child to take on new challenges. Research by Carol Dweck, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, showed that children who perceive their success as a result of their inherent intelligence, were more prone to have a “fixed mindset”. This means that they see talent and intelligence as something they were born with, not as skills that can be learned and nurtured through effort. This becomes especially problematic when their identities become attached to an outcome.

But what exactly happens when a child grows up hearing praises like “you are so smart”?

According to Dr. John Medina, author of the national bestseller “Brain Rules for Baby”,  your child will start to perceive his mistakes as failures. This happens because he is used to seeing his previous successes as a static ability, that is, natural talents he was born with rather than a product of his effort. Failure is thus perceived as a lack of ability, which he has no control over. Continue reading

The first few years: social and emotional development

We’re born social animals – from the start, babies love being held, touched, talked to, and smiled at. And it’s no wonder they crave a connection with adults – babies are completely dependent on others throughout their childhood for survival. However, in order to thrive, not just survive, a baby needs more than just food and shelter. Not surprisingly, a baby needs engagement and attention from Mom, Dad, or his or her caregiver. What is surprising, however, is that a baby needs a specific type of engagement – a serve and return relationship. Continue reading