The skill I prioritize for my kids above counting, reading and writing


Yes, counting, reading and writing are important skills for us to support our little ones in developing. However, there is one skill that I prioritize above these more cognitive skills: emotional awareness and labelling.

It might seem insignificant, but emotional awareness is one of the greatest skills we can develop and teach our children.

Putting words to how we are feeling makes it easier to express these emotions in healthy, adaptive ways and makes them seem less overwhelming and scary.

It is also associated with pretty much any positive outcome that we want for our kids (and ourselves) including:

  • succeeding at school and in the workplace
  • strong and closer friendships
  • stronger intimate relationships
  • better quality relationships in general
  • lasting relationships
  • robust mental health
  • greater physical health
  • more social support & social acceptance


Like most important life lessons, our kids learn from us. As moms, our kids need us to be attuned with our emotions so they can learn to do the same with their own. Once again, our children look to us for lessons in how to deal with their emotions. The most profound way for us to teach our little ones this is for us to model good emotional regulation – that is noticing our emotions, identifying them and expressing them appropriately.


There are plenty of ways you can help your kids develop the life changing skill of emotional awareness including:

  • Notice & name your own emotions
  • Model this noticing and naming to your kids
  • Tell your little ones about the body sensations you are experiencing & what emotions they are connected too (“I am feeling my chest is tight and my heart is beating quickly. I am feeling nervous.”)
  • Be curious about their emotions
  • Asking them what they feel in their bodies when they are emotional
  • Help them connect the feelings in their bodies to emotions
  • Ask them to draw their emotions
  • Not labelling any emotions ‘good’ or ‘bad’


What are you doing to support your children’s emotional development? Let me know! I always love hearing the creative ways moms are doing this.



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