A new bill was recently passed by the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, that will help fund new mental health programs, after-school programs, and more. This new bill will help open up more opportunities for children who did not have these services and it has highlighted how important social-emotional learning is for children. But, this doesn’t mean it stops here. We as parents can continue teaching these SEL skills even at home. Especially teaching our children how to manage their emotions.

A child’s emotions can run wild throughout the day. They can go from being happy with playing with a new toy, to maybe being upset when they don’t get what they want. Emotional intelligence is still being nurtured for young children. But, rest assured all emotions are okay! At an early age, children have a hard time understanding their emotions and knowing how to handle them. That is why it is our job as parents to teach them about their different emotions and how to manage them.

What emotions should we focus on?

The main emotions that can run through a child’s day are happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust. Does this sound familiar? Maybe you have seen it in Disney’s 2015 movie Inside Out. This movie emphasized to the audience, us parents, that all emotions are okay for our child. In the beginning, Joy wanted to block sadness because she saw her as a “bad” emotion to Riley. However, towards the end of the movie, we learn that we actually need sadness in our lives because it’s a natural part of the human experience.

How can we teach emotion-management to our children?

Well, one fun way of teaching it to our children is through stories! Yes, books are so important to our children not just to learn about grammar, but to learn about emotions.

Pro tip: If your child has a hard time coming up with a time they felt an emotion, share your experience with them! They love hearing our stories and it’ll give them time to think!

The best method to teach emotions through reading are:

  1. Ask how the characters of the story are feeling
  2. Follow up with how they know that character is feeling a specific emotion
  3. Ask them about a time in their life when they felt that emotion

A character’s emotion is what drives a story

Many stories are driven through a character’s emotions. No matter the story, you will see one character either sad, upset, joyful, or even scared. Let your child notice these emotions in the story!

Knowing how to identify an emotion

It is very important that our children know how to identify emotions. It is actually one of the best ways to learn about emotion management is recognizing how one is feeling. Your child could identify emotions through expressions! Maybe the main character is happy because your child notices the wide smile across their face. The main character could also be angry because their face is red and they have furrowed eyebrows! 

Your child could also identify emotions through actions a character does. For example, maybe if a character is scared they have a fearful look on their face and they are shivering. Maybe this character is hiding behind a wall or in a closet.

Another way to identify emotions is through verbal interaction. If a character in the story is angry they could be yelling at someone or breaking an object. If a character is very happy maybe they are humming a song or skipping around!

After you have identified emotions within the story it’s time to ask your child when they have felt those emotions.

It’s very simple to ask your child. Let’s use the example of happiness. Ask your child these questions.

  1. When have you felt happy?
  2. Why were you happy?
  3. What do you do when you are happy?
Now you might think happiness might actually be a great emotion overall and that your child needs to be happy 24/7. That is not entirely true. As we’ve pointed out in the beginning, all emotions are important for your child and are natural.

What if you want to identify anger

  1. When and why have you felt angry?
  2. What do you do when you are angry?
  3. What calms you down?

Or how about sadness?

  1. When and why have you felt sad?
  2. What do you do when you are sad?
  3. What makes you feel better?

Notice on bullet point three for both anger and sadness that we point out how to calm ourselves down after feeling such strong emotions. This is where most of the “management” part of emotion management comes in. It’s 100% okay to feel these emotions and we as parents need to emphasize that to our children. 

In fact, there are multiple ways to destress after feeling such emotions. Here are a couple of suggestions…

Another pro tip: Find what your child loves to do! What they do can be a source of mindfulness for them.
  1. Meditation! There are many videos on YouTube just for children.
  2. Drawing, just plain doodling can help distract the mind.
  3. Taking a walk, being around nature can always be calming for many people.
  4. Listening to music. 
  5. Try out our free animal poses yoga cards online! 
  6. Reading a book!

The possibilities are endless! There is no right or wrong way when it comes to relaxing. As a parent, it’s encouraged to help your child find what they like so they have a source to help deal with their emotions.

However, the most important way is to also talk it out with someone. 

As parents, we should be a source of emotional support for our children through their ups and downs.

Even if your child may feel reluctant to share with you, as parents, just letting them know they have a shoulder to lean on helps open so many doors for your child. This will also help nurture them because once they grow up, hopefully, they have an adult they can trust by their side when they need someone to talk to.

Emotion-management important to a child’s wellbeing

If a child cannot communicate their emotions properly they will have a hard time interacting with other people and also containing all those buried emotions deep inside of themselves. Hopefully, this article has helped you gain some tips on how to be emotionally aware and open with your child.

How to Develop a Child’s Emotional Intelligence by Reading

Social-emotional learning is the new age of learning for children. Now, have you ever heard of a maker mindset? A maker mindset is a new term directly connected to social-emotional learning. A maker mindset describes a child or even an adult who are: 

  1. Explorers
  2. Problem-solvers
  3. Positive-thinkers

Having a growth mindset is a component of a maker mindset. The second component is creativity. Learning to have a maker mindset at an early age will only benefit children. This is because the future of work will require a maker mindset. Many characteristics that a child or an adult with a maker mindset include many “soft skills” such as leadership, communication, collaboration, and more! Notice that most of these skills are now highly sought-after in the workforce.

How important is it to have a maker mindset?

The idea of a maker mindset only became mainstream recently. As parents, it’s essential to pay attention to the latest in education trends since we play an integral role in the system. The U.S. Department of Education had the initiative to revamp hundreds of high schools across the country with a makerspace. Makerspaces provide students the materials and environment they need to create, invent, tinker, and explore. This helps them build vital career skills, including critical thinking, planning, communication, and problem-solving.

Because this concept is so new and we are planning for the future – it’s difficult to say what role having a maker mindset will play in our children’s future. However, due to massive investments in educational spaces to promote creative thinking and problem solving and the advocacy for maker mindset by thought leaders, it’s safe to say it’s not going anywhere.

Now how exactly can you help your young child have a maker mindset?

To encourage a maker mindset, let your child be curious about the world and try to answer all their questions!
To encourage a maker mindset, let your child be curious about the world and try to answer all their questions!

One way to encourage a maker mindset in children is to let them be curious about the world! At an early age, I’m sure your child has questioned the world. “How do plants grow?”. “Where does milk come from?”. “Where do cows live?”.

Yes, all the questions can sometimes be maddening. If you think about the questions your child is asking – it’s actually pretty admirable. Keep encouraging the questioning and seize the opportunity to further explore these questions with your child.

dinosaurs for kids

For children interested in dinosaurs, read a book about dinosaurs. Take it one step further and find a museum with a dinosaur exhibit! The real-life experience with the life-sized majestic creatures that used to roam our Earth is a fun and engaging way to learn about dinosaurs. Children are like sponges, they will absorb any information given to them.

While exploring with your child you can also ask questions right back at them. For example, if you are at a park ask them about what they notice in their surroundings. Ask questions identifying objects such as leaves and ask why they think they are green. Most likely, your young child would not understand why, but you can be the one to explain to your child why leaves are green. Everywhere and in everything you do with your child there is always a teachable moment!

Teach children how to problem solve!

 Part of having a maker mindset is how a child problem-solves which may inevitably lead to obstacles such as making mistakes or feeling stuck.
Part of having a maker mindset is how a child problem-solves which may inevitably lead to obstacles such as making mistakes or feeling stuck.

Problem-solving involves three simple steps:

  1. Identifying a problem
  2. Figuring out a solution to the problem
  3. Implementing the solution

To put the steps into action let’s take reading as an example. You and your child encounter a new word in a story you are reading. The problem would be that you and your child do not understand this word, if you can’t understand this word maybe you cannot understand the context of the sentence.

A solution to this problem would be doing a quick internet search or even better, you can even expose your child to reading the dictionary. Although it seems old-fashioned, using a physical dictionary as a resource will help encourage your child to reach out for it if they have any future words they do not understand and even encourage reading!

While your child problem-solves they may encounter obstacles such as making mistakes or feeling stuck.

Making mistakes is all a part of being human. Everyone makes a mistake at different points in their lives. But, what is really important is being able to understand and learn from those mistakes. As a child it is easy to make simple mistakes, maybe such as doing a math problem wrong, using the wrong tense in a sentence, or maybe your child could be building a lego set and misread a step.

When it comes to making mistakes as a child it is important for you as a parent to help navigate them through it in a positive way. That means…

1. Encourage mistakes!

We don’t want to label mistakes as something bad. If children have a negative connotation towards mistakes they could feel scared if they make another mistake. They could also be unwilling to learn from their mistake and could simply give up on finding a solution. Let them know that it is perfectly okay to make mistakes and that no matter what that does not change your love from them.

2. Let them take action to solve it

It is tempting to help children stuck on a problem right away. This is especially true if the solution is clear to yourself. However, our children will need to learn from their mistakes on their own. Try asking them questions that can help them figure out the solution and what they should do next time. But, giving them the answer right away diminishes them from understanding, learning, and developing patience.

Part of having a maker mindset is to take a proactive approach to solve problems and finding a solution.
Part of having a maker mindset is to take a proactive approach to solve problems and finding a solution.

3. Think on the bright side

When children are in a difficult situation while doing a homework assignment, a project, or even a simple game, it can be frustrating. However, we need to always encourage them to have a positive mindset. Learning to have a positive mindset goes a long way. 

The Children Are the Future

With a maker mindset, your child can develop soft skills that are essential to the future of our society. Sounds dramatic? Maybe. But you can’t deny they are the future. At the rate technology is advancing, who knows where we’ll be when our little ones graduate college.

You can incorporate maker mindset concepts with our learning kits and learning mats! This is because our learning products encourage children to have a maker mindset with problem-solving activities and making deeper connections with ideas in stories.

Hopefully, through this article, you’ve learned more about a maker mindset and how to encourage it when teaching your children! If you have any questions about maker mindset, let us know in the comments below!

Does your Child have a Maker Mindset?