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 he 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 are combine with each other and with experiences to form more complex ones. At times, babies and toddlers have trouble expressing more difficult feelings and, as they grow, they have to cope with anger and fears. Those feelings can stem from challenging experiences, like moving to a new home, losing a loved one, or having a new sibling join the family. These changes often cause confusion.
As a parent, it’s tough to not be able to understand how your child is feeling –after all, he is not able to put into words what he 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 their 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:
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!
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 experiences different emotions like happiness, sadness, anger, worry, fear, and surprise. 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 more suitable book suggestions!