Try this to raise your child’s emotional intelligence

Fact: A rich emotional vocabulary can help your toddler understand and process their feelings.

Research shows that using a range of emotion words when talking to your child about their feelings can help build their emotional intelligence.  

Using specific and even complex words to describe how your child feels gives them a deeper, more nuanced understanding of their emotions. When you say a word like “enthusiastic” instead of “happy” or “disappointed” instead of “sad,” you can more closely pinpoint your toddler’s actual emotional state. You also give them an opportunity to learn the sound, context, and meaning of a new word. 

For example, if they’re upset about not getting the toy they wanted, you might try saying, “You didn’t get the blue car, you got the yellow one instead. You’re disappointed.”

Emotionally rich words to identify and label emotions

  • Mad, angry, frustrated, annoyed, furious, disappointed, lonely
  • Overjoyed, elated, joyful, ecstatic, satisfied, hopeful, proud, curious
  • Unhappy, glum, down, worried, nervous, scared, afraid, frightened, confused
  • Excited, enthusiastic, thrilled, delighted, eager, surprised

Learn more about the research

Dunn, J., Bretherton, I., & Munn, P. (1987). Conversations about feeling states between mothers and their young children. Developmental psychology, 23(1), 132.

Lindquist, K. A., MacCormack, J. K., & Shablack, H. (2015). The role of language in emotion: predictions from psychological constructionism. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 444.


Team Lovevery Avatar

Team Lovevery

Visit site

Posted in: 3-year-old, 22 - 24 Months, 25 - 27 Months, 28 - 30 Months, 31 - 33 Months, 34 - 36 Months, Language, Social Emotional, Behavior, Lovevery App, Child Development

Keep reading