As I have mentioned before, our entire family represents the feeling side of the Myers-Briggs spectrum (ESFP, INFJ, ENFJ, ISFP). We have regular conversations about our emotions, identifying feelings, and working through conflict in a healthy way. And since we LOVE reading, we often jumpstart these discussions with our read-aloud choices. After all, developing emotional intelligence with children’s books is a great parenting strategy!
Click here to read more about our strategy for dealing with emotional outbursts.
Developing Emotional Intelligence with Children’s Books
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Recently, I connected with author and licensed marriage and family therapist, Leanne Richter, who has written two children’s books about developing emotional intelligence along with two of her colleagues, Shauna Havlina and Ceth Ashen. She sent us both books in exchange for an honest review.
Using picture books to teach kids about growth mindset, stress and anger management, and the power of positive self-talk makes parenting much easier! After all, books frequently become part of the family culture, a “shorthand” if you will. Both of our children enjoyed reading Jameon’s Closet and Maribel’s Rainy Day. These books will be treasured for years to come.
Jameon’s Closet is all about dealing with hard things (overall theme) and talking about feelings (specifically).
Jameon is a boy who lives with his grandma. He is asked to clean out his closet, but feels overwhelmed by the size of the task. His counselor Jon comes over to help him work through the process step-by-step (“little by little”) until he is done.
Since both of my girls are often overwhelmed by their feelings, I loved the message of Jameon’s Closet. Any book that features strong adult-child relationships is a win in my book!
Maribel’s Rainy Day is about asking for help and positive self-talk.
Maribel is a girl who lives with her foster mother Ana. She is trying to get to her friend’s house, but it is raining and she keeps getting soaked. The book goes through a few humorous scenarios before Ana helps her put on her rain gear.
The scene with the cat makes both of my girls giggle every time we read it. There are family activities included in the back to help develop growth mindset skills, like breathing, visualization, and calming techniques.
Each book starts with a relatable story before getting into the specifics of developing emotional intelligence. It is clear that the authors have spent tremendous amounts of time with children and respect the sometimes-difficult journey of childhood.
The books include:
- diverse characters
- non-traditional family structures (grandparents and foster parents)
- and concise language that makes the point incredible clear (without being heavy-handed)
There are no religious overtones in either story, but it would be incredibly easy for families of faith to include verses and prayers into the techniques taught in the books. (The idea of Maribel’s “worry gear” definitely reminded me of the armor of God passage from the Bible.) Helping children write down positive affirmations from the book would be a simple, healthy activity.
What are your favorite books for developing emotional intelligence?