Building Emotional Vocabulary

Building Emotional Vocabulary

by Angie Williams

“…many children will require careful step-by step instruction from reading effective cues to acting on decisions.”

Cora, our younger, very spirited daughter is approaching the age of 3, and my husband and I are bracing ourselves. We recall the joys and challenges of this age with Abby, our older daughter; many of these are already in full swing. What is new this time around is that we are not only trying to find parenting strategies that work for Cora, but we are also trying to help Abby relate to her sister in a productive way (instead of, say, having a major meltdown every time Cora takes one of her toys and runs away with it with a sly smile on her face).

Recent interactions are showing us that we would do well to support Abby by focusing on emotional vocabulary and giving her specific guidance on how to respond to Cora’s behavior. If you are in a similar boat and interested in learning more, this article provides some excellent background information and tips on emotional vocabulary and how it helps children’s social/emotional development. The article lists these books as a good place to start for building children’s emotional vocabulary:

  • On Monday when it rained by Cherryl Kachenmeister
  • Glad Monster, Sad Monster: A Book About Feelings by Anne Miranda & Ed Emberley (Illustrator)
  • My Many Colored Days by Seuss, Steve Johnson (Illustrator), Lou Fancher (Illustrator)
  • When Sophie Gets Angry- Really, Really Angry… by Molly Garrett Bang
  • Feelings (Reading Rainbow Book) by Aliki
  •  I’m Mad (Dealing With Feelings) by Elizabeth Crary, Jean Whitney
  • I’m Frustrated (Dealing With Feelings) by Elizabeth Crary, Jean Whitney (Illustrator)
  • When I Feel Angry by Cornelia Maude Spelman, Nancy Cote (Illustrator)