Emotional Regulation Children’s Books

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Emotions are tough to deal with when you’re a kid. They’re even tougher to deal with when you’re the parent – am I right? At least that’s how it is in our house.

True story, I was screamed at one time because I was asked for juice, but upon presenting said juice to my master (ie, 4 year old), I was informed that the cup I brought was the wrong cup. The cup I gave him was wrong because “I can’t see the TV when I drink out of it. I need a skinny cup with a Superhero top.”

Oh, hell no.

I lost it. Needless to say, the juice was promptly put back into the refrigerator to try again tomorrow. So now I was being followed by the angry 4 year old while he screamed “I’ll drink the juice, I’ll drink the juice!” Too little, too late. So after the TV was shut off and he was asked to clean up his toys, the rest of the night was pretty much downhill and I decided we were ready for 4 year old boot camp.

As he followed me around the house, I cleaned (with the little one crawling around following me which is pretty much what she does anyway) because it was all I could do to keep from laughing at his requests (“I don’t want water! I want something funner! The only thing that will cheer me up is juice! My knee told me my legs are broken! I can’t clean up my toys by myself! I can’t stand up” etc etc).

After the meltdown(s), I actually sat down with him and asked him how he felt. Frustrated, sad, upset, angry, what? He seemed very confused so I thought about writing a post about emotion regulation books for littles who are learning about their emotions. If your little is struggling with handling emotions, these are a good idea to teach them about their emotions. It’s not enough to just ask them “are you angry?” because they don’t necessarily know what that means or what that feels like. That’s why we have children’s authors 🙂

I’ve highlighted some of our favorites (that our library had) and broke them down a little bit for you.

The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
This book is about a grumpy fish who is just a miserable ocean dweller. He doesn’t have a reason to be awful – at least they don’t give it in the book – and I like that. I like that they’re saying sometimes it’s ok to not know why you’re upset. Everyone tries to cheer him up and ask him why he’s so mad. He doesn’t have answers for them. Finally, a mysterious fish (think “pretty blonde in a sparkly dress”) approaches him and simply gives him a kiss. All of a sudden, he feels better and starts spreading the love. I like that. All he needed was some love!

Finn Throws A Fit by David Elliot
This book pretty much describes life with a toddler. A kid is pissed with no reason why (must be friends with Pout Pout Fish) and then after he completely destroys the house like a hurricane, he decides to calm down and eat his peaches. And the parents are just hiding for their lives until he finishes. Case closed. Like I said, daily struggle in life with a toddler.

Glad Monster, Sad Monster – A Book About Feelings by Ed Emberley & Anne Miranda
Love this one. It covers most emotions and what you want to do when you feel those emotions. It also explains what makes the monsters feel this way, which I think is so important because it connects an activity / occurrence with the feeling. And also that all of these feelings are ok. It also comes with some masks that you can tear out and use and a little pocket in the back of the book to store them.

When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry… by Molly Bang
This one (like the others) is about anger AND how to deal with it. Sophie gets ticked off because her sister steals a toy and mom takes her sister’s side (I got you, Sophie. I hate that too) and when she’s stomping off, she trips over a truck and gets hurt. THE WORST! So she goes for a walk and sees some calming things and returns home all good. I am not sure I would encourage walks all alone, but you get the idea.

The Feelings Book by Todd Parr
This one was suggested to me by a friend who is a social worker (thanks, Kim!). They describe different feelings (including feeling like a kissing a sea lion…which I want to do daily ;)) and how you should share your feelings with people you love. This is so important! I want my kids to know that they can tell me what they’re feeling, especially when we’re having a hard time connecting and understanding what is going on with them.

So, take your pick and let me know how they do in your house. Or let me know if you use other ones!


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