November 9, 2022
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by Melinda Perry, Quality and Education Coaching Specialist, Early Learning Coalition of Broward

Social Emotional Skills are an important part of early childhood learning at home and at school. In fact, research has shown that the skills your child needs most to succeed in the future are social and emotional skills. We want our children to manage and express their feelings appropriately, build relationships, can be empathetic and the ability to problem solve.

Social and Emotional Development like other areas are a process and is continuous throughout a child’s life. It starts early and as children enter school, they will continue to learn new skills and strategies as they go through elementary, middle and high school. The skills will be carried over into their adult lives.

Let’s begin with our youngest. It’s imperative that we as parents, their first teacher, model appropriate behavior for them. Do you ever notice that there are always little eyes watching us? Well, we all have bad days and that’s ok. Yes, we are all human. It’s how we address it and handle ourselves after that truly matters. We have all said a bad word here or there and then are mortified (maybe laugh too) when our kiddos say it.

It starts with us, as adults we have the ability and responsibility to teach and model for our children. We can be a role model. If we are stressed it is important to pivot, take a step away, take a deep breath and count to 5. When ready to address the situation in a calm way come back to it. This isn’t always easy, but we can try our best.

When our children are having a hard time, we can look to our preschools as a model for assistance. Most preschool classrooms create a “quiet place” where children can go and calm down. Using a basket, a bag or bin you can place various items designed to support and comfort children when they are emotionally upset. Some examples include squeeze balls, breathing pictures, journal, feeling faces, lotion, a mirror, social emotional books, small stuffed animals, and soft pillows. The “quiet place” is an area that is visible to the parent yet away so the child can go alone or with a parent to regroup and calm down when emotionally upset.

Another way to support social emotional learning is through teaching a “feelings” vocabulary. This is essential to appropriate emotional expression and resolution. Using books such as, When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry, help our kids to learn how to label their feelings and emotions. T

eaching about feelings, emotions and how to talk about them is a skill just like learning to write. It’s important to realize and understand some children need more help and guidance than others. If we think about meeting each child where they are at and consider their level of development, we are better able to appropriately individualize social emotional skills and model positive behaviors.

Here is a list of books to support feelings and emotions:

When Sophie Gets Angry--Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang

When I’m Feeling Angry by Trace Moroney

Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis

The Boy with Big, Big Feelings by Britney Winn Lee

1-2-3 My Feelings and Me by Goldie Millar

My Mixed Emotions by DK Tough Guys

Have Feelings Too by Keith Negley

The Color Monster by Anna Llenas

The Way I Feel by Janan Cain

If you are concerned about your child’s development, other options include speaking with your child’s pediatrician, contacting the ELC of Broward’s Warm Line which will answer questions and concerns about development of children birth to five at 954-295-0672 or calling Early Steps at 954-728-1083 for concerns about children birth to three and FDLRS Reach/Child Find at 754-321-7200. If you need help locating a childcare center that works for you, please let the Early Learning Coalition of Broward County help you. Call us at 954-377-2188 or check out our website at

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Social and Emotional Skills Mat ter: Fostering Solutions for Lifelong Success

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