When many parents think of toddler milestones, a few of them come up - talking, potty training, eating without needing a bath afterward, you know, the obvious ones that make our lives as parents a bit easier. But when it comes to empowering our kids to be autonomous, emotionally mature people, we often forget to teach them about emotions. Can you imagine how hard it would be to tell someone how you're feeling if you don't know the word for it? How often as adults do we have trouble with this very thing?
Around the time of my son's second birthday we were given an amazing gift. If you're not familiar with LeapFrog, you need to be! I knew of LeapFrog products from when my siblings were little. They help to teach young ones about phonics, shapes, and numbers. A friend had given us a DVD about the alphabet months earlier, and it helped to teach my son his letter sounds at 18 months! So when we recieved a bookset about toddler milestones, I was thrilled! If the bookset could help with potty training like the DVD did with the alphabet, I was sold!
The bookset comes with 4 books about using the potty, bedtime routine (and counting), being an older sibling, and -the most important book - identifying feelings. This blew me away! It didn't occur to me how vital it was for our kiddos to identify their feelings and talk about them.
The book pairs with a Tag reader, and your little one can point to words and have the book read aloud by the toy. As the book is tapped, page by page, we see Leap (the froggy toddler) experience a range of emotions throughout the day - pride, frustration, joy, and sadness. The feels are discussed, identified, and acknowledged.
Why I Love It: They use big words. It seems counterintuitive, using large words with little kids, but using proper names for thoughts and feelings helps them to better express themselves. I also love that they set up a scenario - "I can't find my toy" - that the child has probably experienced to help them identify that feeling - "frustration".
Why It's Important: I firmly believe that empowering our kids to be able to identify their feelings is the first step in teaching them empathy. If they know what sad is and what it feels like, they are likely to be more empathetic to a friend when they're sad. They can better inform us of how they're feeling and they'll be better equipped to cope with their feelings.