Emotional Literacy & Emotional Intelligence ~ What is it and why is it so important?

Emotional Literacy & Emotional Intelligence

What is it and why is it so important?

You may have heard terms like emotional intelligence and emotional literacy before but what exactly do they mean, and why is it so important, especially for our kids?
Firstly, ‘emotional intelligence’ is not the same as ‘emotional literacy’ but they do work hand in hand so let’s start with a quick definition to help you understand the difference.

Emotional Literacy refers to a person’s ability to recognise, name and express feelings. Emotional Intelligence is ones ability to understand, use, and manage those emotions in positive ways in order to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others and overcome challenges.

So, essentially emotional literacy is about ones knowledge of emotions - being able to identify and name individual emotions being felt by yourself or recognise them in others people. Whereas emotional intelligence is about your competence in dealing with those emotions. You’ll now be able to see why you need a good foundation of emotional literacy before you can function with effective emotional intelligence and why it’s so very important that we focus on fostering emotional literacy in our kids. Kids are never too young to start!

Teaching emotional literacy is important for developing self-confidence, boosting self-esteem, social and emotional development, and encouraging emotional self-management over impulse reactions. Children who have a strong foundation in emotional literacy tolerate frustration better, get into fewer fights, and engage in less self-destructive behavior than children who do not have a strong foundation. These children are also healthier, less lonely, less impulsive, more focused, and they have greater academic achievement.

Because having a strong emotional literacy allows one the ability to understand your emotions, the ability to listen to others and empathise with their emotions, and the ability to express emotions productively, you can understand why kids with a stronger emotional literacy will cope with whatever life throws their way with confidence and competence!

How do you get started? Well, luckily for you, here at Kids Unlimited we are passionate about stocking books and other resources to support you in your journey to acquiring strong emotional literacy skills for yourself and your kids so here’s some awesome ideas, broken down into age categories, for easy browsing! We have also aimed to stock books that cover a range of common life challenges that kids face like starting school, dealing with grief, experiencing anxiety and much more!

If your child / family is dealing with something in particular and you can’t find a book that deals with that issue, please get in touch and tell us what you’re after and we will do our best to try and source one for you. Feel free to email us at info@kidsunlimited.co.nz and we will do our best to help you!


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Some suggestions for Little Kids 0-6 years

Some suggestions for Big Kids 7-12 years

Some Suggestions for Teens & Adults