Teach Your Child About Emotions

Learning how to handle your child’s emotions can be tough as a parent. Parents often realize that they weren’t taught at a young age to identify and cope with strong emotions. It can be difficult to see your child having big feelings and not knowing how to handle them.

Cornelia Maude Spelman, MSW and former therapist, has written a great book series to help you teach emotional awareness to your child; however, if this book series doesn’t work for you, don’t give up hope, just try something new. Her book series, The Way I Feel, focuses on one emotion per book. Each book explores reasons to feel that emotion, and ways to cope with it. In addition, the books begin with a page for caregivers on how hard it can be to watch your child have big feelings, and how to handle it as a parent. Some emotions covered include: fear, anger, worried, jealous, and proud.

For example, in When I Feel Sad, the main character is a guinea pig that is struggling with feeling sad. The guinea pig explains different situations that make him sad, from minor situations like not getting something he wants, to more serious situations like missing a grandparent or losing a pet. The guinea pig talks about how sadness is a cloudy tired feeling that he doesn’t like and wants to go away. The book acknowledges that everybody feels sad sometimes, and that you won’t stay sad forever.

This book ends with various ways to make yourself feel better when you’re sad. These coping skills include: talking to an adult, sitting close to someone you love, playing with friends, and doing some artwork.

The illustrations are adorable and truly communicate how it feels to experience sadness. This book is a great tool to discuss emotions and coping skills with a wide age of kids from toddlers to young school children (2-7 year olds).

There are many other books that can help you and your child learn about emotions. For slightly older children (ages 8-12) You may want to explore the Emotions’ Survival Guide from Disney’s movie Inside Out. This book has fun illustrations to go with helpful activities you and your child can do to manage emotions.


If you are interested in working on this area with teens, non-violent communication is a method of communicating feelings and needs that may be helpful. There are numerous books written by the founder, Dr. Rosenberg, which may be helpful in teaching yourself and your teen about communicating emotions. The website (https://www.cnvc.org/learn/nvc-foundations) has free resources as well.