By Alesha Combs, Account Manager
Kids only know what they’re taught. What were you taught as a child and what do you want to teach your children? Think back to your 4- or 5-year-old self. For me, at that time, there was an emphasis on learning the ABCs and 123s, science, manners, and learning how to read; these all took center stage. But what about social and emotional intelligence? Many of us were taught to be kind, and were made aware of the different types of emotions that exist, but too often the extent of children’s education regarding emotion is classification of the emotions that are “good” and socially appropriate, or “bad” and should be suppressed. All emotions are valid. Even if you’re never taught to identify them, you can bet you’ll have the opportunity to feel the full range of them over the course of a lifetime.
Fast forward to your adult life. You’re responsible for dealing with a range responsibilities and life’s unknowns. These will evoke strong emotions and you’re now responsible for dealing with them, well…like an adult. You use the tools you were given and taught in your formative years as the baseline for managing these things, and you sharpen the edges of these tools as you grow and receive more opportunities to use them. So do you let yourself experience your emotions fully, or do they make you uncomfortable? Do you know how to respond in a healthy way when you experience those dreaded “bad” emotions like stress, anger, grief, anxiety, fear, insecurity, or envy, or are you still working on it?
Emotion is an unavoidable part of life. The self-help industry continues to grow, as adults seek out new ways of improving themselves and learning how to live and enjoy life. Unavoidably, this includes learning how to manage our emotions. The self-help industry is projected to reach a net worth of 13 billion dollars by 2022. Be honest, how many self-help classified books do you have sitting on your bookshelf? Now how many are sitting on your child’s bookshelf, and how often are you talking to them about their feelings in a positive manner, versus in response to negative behavior?
Author and illustrator Diane Alber has created a wonderful range of interactive children’s books and toys all focused on helping children build their confidence and promote their social and emotional intelligence. She’s created a series of interactive stories, focused on the emotions that we all experience. These books provide children with tools that can be easily implemented to help engage and encourage mindfulness in the way they understand and respond to their feelings. I recommend the “A Little Spot of Emotion Box Set”. Diane even provides access to an Educator Guide, which parents can use as a tool to help chaperone their children through this learning process and help them receive the most from it.
Parents are given an opportunity to learn when they take the time to teach their child(ren). Diane Alber’s books are primarily geared towards children ages 4-8, but the fundamentals of emotional intelligence are a welcome reminder for all ages. Give yourself a break from that 400-page Self-Help book that you feel guilty (ah emotion!) for not finishing, even though it’s been sitting on your table untouched for the last who knows how long, and give your inner-child a refresher on the basics. You can check out and purchase Diane Alber’s books online at https://www.dianealber.com/.