Using Your Words: How To help Your Child Foster Emotional Development

March 30, 2017


It is often the case that parents seek guidance and support from professionals in order to help their children manage daily peer-based conflicts and emotional hurdles – You know, those moments when telling your toddler to “use your words” just doesn't seem to be enough. Lucky for parents, practicing what you preach may be one of the easiest ways to facilitate emotional development and interpersonal sensitivity in children. The more parents talk and “use their words” about specific emotions, the better an understanding their child will have about the meaning and social consequences of their own feelings and behaviors.

“Using your words” about emotions goes beyond labeling them as they’re happening. Sure, it’s valuable to say “you look really mad” as your toddler hurls his legos at you when it’s bed-time, but it’s likely more valuable to illustrate emotional states when children are calm, attentive and engaged… you guessed it …Story Time!

Reading picture books about emotions provides opportunities to discuss expose children to a range of emotional vocabulary. It allows for sharing of personal experiences, like that time you got so “frustrated” you ripped your homework. It also allows for fun commenting on illustrations of emotional states, like how “silly” that dog looked walking upside-down! Talking about different emotions and relating them to your personal life gives children an opportunity to understand and practice “using their words” in a reinforcing and positive way, increasing the likelihood that when it comes time to put those “using those words” into practice, they’ll be better equipped.

Some Great Books To Help Foster Emotional Development:


Post by Carly Seibald, MS CCC-SLP, TSSLD, Speech Language Pathologist

Carly Seibald the founder of Social Sprouts, SLP - a pediatric speech-language pathology practice with an emphasis on teaching social skill development. Carly is a New York State licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from ASHA as well as a professional certificate as a Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities (TSSLD).  Contact Info: 914-439-4456


Photo: Fashion For little People

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