Emotional Development means developing a full range of emotions, from sad to happy to angry, and learning to handle them appropriately. This leads to deeper qualities – sympathy, caring, resilience, self-esteem, assertiveness and being able to rise to life's challenges.
Parents Can:Identify and label emotions, for example, "Your crying tells me you're feeling sad"
Child Will:Learn to identify his feelingsDevelop a vocabulary for talking about feelingsBegin to associate descriptive words with feelings
Parents Can:Try to reduce biting and hitting by: explaining that it hurts others; helping their toddler talk about her feelings; continuing to provide comfort when their toddler is upsetOffer other ways their toddler can deal with her feelings, for example, "When you are mad, come and get a big person to help you."
Child Will:Feel comforted and supportedBegin to understand that biting and hitting hurt othersStart to identify ways she can deal with some of her emotions
Parents Can:Look at family pictures and talk about the feelings in the photos
Child Will:Identify different emotionsBegin to label different emotions
Parents Can:Sing songs that use emotion words, such as "When you're happy and you know it, clap your hands"
Child Will:Begin to remember the words to songsBegin to associate certain actions with wordsEnjoy being and singing with you
Parents Can:Set up imaginary play situations which allow their toddler to take on "pretend" roles and emotions, such as going to the doctor or preparing dinner
Child Will:Try to imitate you or others he has seenBegin to associate descriptive words with feelingsEnjoy pretending to be you
Parents Can:Set up a craft area with cut outs of different eyes, mouths, noses, ears, etc. Encourage your toddler to create different faces with different emotionsUse the faces to make up stories or songs about why the face feels happy, sad or mad
Child Will:Experiment with different emotionsUse his creativity to explore emotionsLabel different emotions
Parents Can:Look at magazines and talk about the different emotions being shown (for example, "Why is the mommy so happy?")
Child Will:Learn to label emotionsExpand her understanding of people and places, and their expressions
Parents Can:Notice when their toddler is frustrated, and step in to help him deal with his emotionsOffer their toddler different choices to help him cope with his feelings
Child Will:Talk about his feelingsKnow he can come to you when he is having trouble coping with his emotionsBegin to develop some strategies to deal with his emotions