[New Post] Building An Emotional Vocabulary in Children

Why An Emotional Vocabulary Is Important

Helping children build an emotional vocabulary encourages a firm foundation in social and emotional competence. Being able to identify what you are feeling and to be able to effectively understand what others are feeling is a necessary part of social awareness. In order to correctly identify feelings in yourself and others you first have to have words for those feelings. There is a large and varied vocabulary of emotions and feeling words beyond happy, sad, and mad. People of all ages need an assortment of words for their feeling vocabulary in order to express their feelings well, and to be able to read and respond appropriately to the emotional cues coming from others. A feeling vocabulary that is large and complex permits children to discriminate between feelings and to effectively communicate to others what they are experiencing. Being able to accurately identify and label feelings in others allows children to understand and successfully manage social situations.

How An Emotional Vocabulary Develops


Children acquire this vocabulary of self-awareness and social-awareness by direct instruction and by observing what’s happening around them. Many experiences, both purposeful and happenstance, help children develop an extensive feeling vocabulary. Hearing feeling words used around them, having stories read to them that use rich vocabulary, and participating in social activities all encourage children to expand and label their feelings appropriately. In today’s classrooms and counseling groups the development of social and emotional skills and related vocabulary should be fostered in multiple ways and through presenting a variety of activities. Today’s blog activity comes from the book, Social and Emotional Learning Activities For The Elementary Grades, and provides an effective way to expand the feeling vocabulary of your students.

Here’s Today’s Activity and Experience Sheet

You can check the book out HERE.

Just click HERE to open a fully reproducible PDF of this activity and experience sheet…

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