Importance of Learning to Identify Emotions for Toddlers

When a child is born into the world, its parents, grandparents, and near and dear ones are eager to teach a wide range of skills to the young baby. We await each milestone with bated breath and record every achievement with great precision and in much detail.

However, soon after the newborn achieves toddlerhood, the child begins to learn many new things from its surroundings and experiences, at a faster pace than before. The child also begins to develop emotions that it cannot quite still fathom or express. With this limited range, they begin to navigate the world around them. Owing to this, their reactions and responses seem like they are stemming from a confused bunch of nerves: they cry and laugh without knowing if their reaction is in line with the stimulant.

Apart from this, mainly, how their caregivers respond and react to these situations largely informs the toddler’s reaction to a particular situation. They are essentially mimicking what they see. For instance, a child learns to express anger from their parents. And happiness too. Likewise, they learn to laugh at clowns and feel empathy when they see someone hurt. 

So, as parents or caretakers, we must not only be extra vigilant around them, in terms of our own reactions, but we must also make an effort to introduce a larger sample of influence that can help children process and in turn express these emotions in a more wholesome fashion.  To this end, picture books that focus on emotions and responses to situations can be a powerful learning aid to help young ones explore and learn about their own feelings. 

Let us understand how:

Reduces Feeling Overwhelmed

Big, intense emotions scare everybody. When kids see, read and learn about different emotions, it helps them to become familiar with things that can trigger such feelings. In doing this, we are helping them build coping mechanisms.

Builds Emotional Health

If children are left with unresolved feelings and no guidance, their suppression can cause emotional confusion or unhappiness. If parents, teachers, and caregivers teach children to identify and process different emotions, they will have a better understanding and control over their emotions and grow into happier adults.

Improves Focus

When children aren’t dealing with the weight of unresolved emotions, they get more mental space to grasp the knowledge being imparted and divert their energies to more fruitful exercises, such as participating in extracurricular activities. Owing to this, they can identify when the pressure is getting to them, and separate themselves from the situation effectively. It is an important life skill to impart at a young age, to cope with stress without crumbling under pressure.

Encourages a Healthy Self Esteem

Identifying emotions and learning to work through them helps children feel capable, accomplished, and confident. They identify themselves as empathetic, calm, and focused, and this helps them acquire individual stability.

Improves Communication

When children are more expressive and vocal about their feelings, it helps build a better bond among peers, friends, and family. This also enables them to seek help from parents or others around, when in need, instead of feeling forlorn.

Enables Finding Solutions

Telling stories, preferably through picture books, playing board games, and sharing your own feelings are a great way to help children identify and understand various emotions, this helps in inculcating good habits and values, thereby raising independent and well-rounded children.

There is very strong evidence, backed by research, that reading for pleasure can increase empathy, improve relationships with others, reduce the symptoms of depression and the risk of dementia, and improve wellbeing throughout life. So, start today, to ensure your child is happy, confident and emotionally secure.

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