Parenting Resource – Emotional Literacy

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Oregon Parenting Educators Conference at Oregon State University.  Throughout this event, experts from across the state presented on a range of topics that facilitators encounter as they work with and support families.  One workshop that I found to be especially insightful focused on emotional literacy and how we can assist parents in making it a part of everyday parenting.  Dr. Ann Corwin, a noted expert in parenting and child development education, shared with us how feelings drive the behaviors that parents see in their children – and how those emotions can be identified, understood, and managed in healthy and productive ways.  We call this emotional literacy.

The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning defines emotional literacy as “the ability to identify, understand, and respond to emotions in oneself and others in a healthy manner.”  Research has shown that children who have a solid foundation in emotional literacy tolerate frustration better, engage in less destructive behaviors, are less impulsive, and have greater academic achievement.  The ability to label emotions is a developmental skill that is not present at birth—it must be learned.  This is where parents come!

Below, you will find two resources that can assist parents in helping children to identify, understand, and manage their feelings in healthy ways:

Article Link: “Teaching Your Child to Identify and Express Emotions”

This article provides parents with detailed information on how they can help their children to identify and manage emotions, including step-by-step guidelines, fun activities, and a list of common “feeling” words that can be taught, modeled, and reinforced.

Article Link: “Books About Feelings for Babies and Toddlers”

Books can be powerful tools to help young children make sense of their feelings.  To help parents and caregivers support children as they deal with challenging feelings and experiences, the National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families created a list of books on a variety of topics, including anger, self-control, and friendship!  This is definitely a list you’ll want to keep handy!


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