Talking about emotions: Videos & books for early learners

By Shelley Harris, Children’s Librarian

It’s never too early to talk about emotions with children, even babies and toddlers. The past few months have been an especially hard time for everyone, and kids are bound to be having big feelings they may not understand. You can share songs and regular check-ins to help kids navigate this tough time.

Below are a few activities you can do together to encourage kids to talk about their emotions.

Watch these videos

1. In the video below, Miss Jenny and Miss Shelley demonstrate songs that can help kids talk about the emotions they feel as well as work through those rough feelings.

2. We know that kids, grownups, and camels are feeling a lot of emotions these days. In the video below, Miss Jenny and Ruthie check in every day about how they feel. Sometimes, words are hard so they find other ways to express themselves. How are you feeling? How did you express it? Share with each other.

3. We’re big fans of Mr. Rogers at the library, especially his mantra that “What is mentionable is manageable.” When we talk about big feelings, they aren’t as overwhelming anymore. What is your favorite way to express a big emotion? Mr Rogers liked to play the piano, and he’s not the only one who used music. Watch Mr. Rogers and cellist Yo-Yo Ma enjoy some music together in a video from PBS Kids »

4. Mr. Rogers also spent a lot of time talking to kids about feelings, and naming them: sad, scared, disappointed, even ambivalent. Read more about his conversations with children and watch clips on the Fred Rogers Production website »

Read these books

Looking for books to share?

  • Big Boys Cry is a wonderful look at the importance of allowing everyone to fully express all of their emotions in whatever ways feel best.
  • In My Heart: A Book of Feelings explores different emotions and how they can show themselves. Do you stomp or cry when you’re angry? Do you laugh or cry when you’re happy? Everyone expresses themselves differently!
  • Baby Faces are a great way to introduce babies and toddlers to naming emotions. Toddlers can help mimic and act them out, too.
Shelley Harris

About Shelley

Shelley is a children’s librarian with a passion for early literacy, serving and celebrating the disability community, and exploring technology. She can often be found practicing storytime songs with her black lab, Bingo.

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