6 preschooler books that teach social skills
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My lovely 5 year old likes to moon people. Much to my dismay, he thinks it’s hilarious.
Now before anyone goes judging, I have tried to talk to him about this many times. He just doesn’t get it. He’s a sweet kid overall, but he definitely needs to learn more about empathy and respect.
It’s not easy – raising kids into adults who respect themselves and others. Teaching kids how to be empathetic, thoughtful, honest, kind and patient is not for the faint of heart.
Of course, a lot of this is taught through our own behavior. I get that we should practice these things ourselves, and hope that our kids will model us. But even then, our kids need a little extra help in some areas.
That’s where storytelling comes in.
Stories are one of the most effective ways to teach our kids. So, if you’re in a similar boat as me, welcome to the club! Let’s talk about some books that our kids will like to read, and that also have a secret power – teaching them emotional intelligence skills.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence seems like a such a corporate-y, buzz word, I know. But that’s exactly what we’re talking about when we say things like, “Why doesn’t my kid get how hurtful it is to call someone fat?”.
Emotional Intelligence is being able to know and understand our own feelings as well as others. It’s self-control, empathy, self-confidence, self-awareness, and trustworthiness. You know, all of the things we want our kids to have.
Not only does emotional intelligence make us better people, but it makes us more successful. We tend to focus a lot on academics as a predictor of how successful our kids are going to be as adults.
That’s all well and good. But what if I told you that research shows that emotional intelligence is more important? Yep. It’s a better predictor of later success than IQ, family environment, and socioeconomic status.
Benefits of Teaching Kids Emotional Intelligence
Ok, so emotional intelligence is a key part of our kids being successful adults. But it can also help them (and us!) now.
As they learn more about these concepts, they’ll practice and live them more often. Imagine if your child was struggling with something, like zipping her coat. Instead of yelling, crying, or just plain giving up, she says to you, “Mommy, this is really hard. I need help.”
Sound too good to be true? It’s not! It’ll take time, patience, and effort on our part, but the more we coach our kids through situations like tough homework, a schoolmate who said something mean to them, or a friend who is going through a hard time, the more emotionally intelligent they become.
the 6 Best Books to Teach Kids Emotional Intelligence
Alright, so here’s a list of the best 6 books that teach kids emotional intelligence skills. These books are well-suited for kids ages 3 through 5. They are organized by the main skills that the books teach.
Recognizing Emotions in Self and Others
In this book, Jim Panzee (ha!) wakes up on the wrong side of bed. He’s grumpy all day. His friends don’t understand why, and neither does Jim. In fact, he denies that he’s grumpy. He tries to put on a smile, but still doesn’t feel right. His friends try to cheer him up, but nothing works. He yells at his friends, and later feels bad about it.
Eventually, he accepts that today he feels grumpy, and his best friend accepts, too. That makes Jim feel a bit better.
Our kids will learn that it’s ok to feel and talk about “negative” emotions, but to be careful about hurting others feelings.
I love how realistic this story is. Any kid will be able to relate to it.
Luna, who is 3 years old, is coloring with her big brother, Asthon. Everything Asthon draws and colors comes out amazing compared to hers. She starts to become angry and breaks crayons. Ashton is like “what the heck is going on”. But he grabs one of the broken crayons and STILL manages to draw an awesome picture. Can you imagine?
Naturally, Luna is pissed. She starts throwing his papers and the crayons all over the place. Ashton begins to cry. When Luna sees him crying, she realizes that she’s upset him and wants to make it right.
This is a great story to teach our little ones about how actions can affect how others feel, and what to do when what we’ve done has negatively impacted someone else.
In today’s fast-paced world, there are a lot of kids who struggle with anxiety. It’s hard for them to understand and communicate what it is they’re feeling. This book does a wonderful job of defining anxiety in a simple way that younger kids can understand. It also teaches kids simple ways to manage the anxiety.
There is a whole series of “A Little SPOT” books that focus on an array of topics, like anger and sadness. You should definitely check them out and select the book(s) that your child needs the most right now. I cannot recommend these books enough!
This story teaches a lesson that I hope my boys will carry with them throughout their lives.
A frog’s pond has dried up and he has no where to live. He comes across a little mouse who is building a house. The mouse opens its doors to the frog, and frog helps mouse to build its home.
As they’re building, they meet other animals who also need a safe place to live and they take the animals in. Together they build a house where they all can live.
I love that this story pulls in all different types of animals, they all work together towards one common goal, and they all look out for each other. That’s the kind of world our kids deserve to live in!
Another “A Little Spot” book! Seriously love them, as you can tell. In this book, Confidence is an orange spot that can grow bigger or shrink smaller. The book does a lovely job of explaining what confidence is and how to grow it.
Just get the book. You won’t be sorry. I promise.
A funny and simple story about how lying can get you into trouble. Pig the Pug is always stirring up trouble and blaming it on his dog brother, Trevor. It hurts Trevor’s feelings and he doesn’t understand why Pig keeps blaming him for things he didn’t do.
Nonetheless, Pig continues. One day, he gets Trevor in trouble to distract their owners so that he can grab treats from a closet. When he grabs the treats, a bowling ball rolls out and hits him in the head. Pig never tells a lie again!
I love how entertaining, yet straightforward, this book is. It’s sure to give your little ones some laughs while teaching them that lying has its consequences.
A Tip for Getting the Most Out of These Books
All of these books do a great job of teaching children some really important lessons. However, your kids will get so much more out of it if you ask them questions along the way, like “Why do you think the character feels that way?”, “What do you think is going to happen?” or “What would you do?”. This will not only get your kids more engaged in the story, but it will also help them connect the dots more easily.
Comment below with your favorite children’s book! Happy Reading!