Social and emotional development has been identified as one of the key factors in children's long term academic and life success. Why is that? These key skills include the regulation of children’s emotions, the ability to solve problems, the ability to interact with others both alike and different from oneself and much more!

Children’s early life experiences help them learn to identify their emotions, develop strategies for handling life’s disappointments and negotiate the complex word of emotions and society. Parents and caregivers have the opportunity to support children’s social and emotional development in a variety of ways. From teaching children the words for their emotions, providing problem-solving strategies that can be applied across a variety of situations and reading books to children where characters work through difficult situations, you can embed these learning opportunities in your child’s day without much additional effort.

In addition to these tips, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension offers a variety of resources to help you build the social and emotional health of young children. These include programs and trainings in the following areas: Building Early Emotional Skills, Setting the Stage: Promoting Positive Social and Emotional Development in Young Children, RELAX: Alternatives to Anger for Parents and Caregivers and Positive Discipline. Check out the Events Calendar to find a training near you or contact us to book an Extension educator to come to your center, library, school or business to offer one of these excellent, research-based trainings.

MSU Extension also offers a variety of downloadable resources for parents and caregivers interested in learning about social and emotional health in young children.

Promoting Social & Emotional Health in Young Children

This lesson provides strategies for parents to help their children build social and emotional helath.

Calming Jar Instructions

A calming jar is a great way for young children to control their emotions and self regulate.

Four Developmental States of Self-Control Fact Sheet

This resource helps parents learn how to recognize and help their children through different stages of developing self-control.

RELAX Recommended Book list

The resource recommends great books for parents to open discussion about different topics.

"Baby Faces" Family Book Sheet

This resource helps children learn and see what different emotions and feelings look like.

Llama Llama Mad at Mama Family Book Sheet

This is a story about Llama Llama and a very frustrating trip to the store with his Mama. Llama Llama learns how to handle tough emotions

On the Night You Were Born Family Book Sheet

A story about how the world celebrates when a new child is born. Read this story to share with your child how unique, special and appreciated they are.

Sometimes I'm Bombaloo Family Book Sheet

This story is about a little girl named Katie Honors. When Katie gets angry she gets “Bombaloo” and loses her temper. With some comfort from her mother and little humor, Katie can transform back to her normal self and deal with her Bomabaloo feelings.

The Way I Feel Family Book Sheet

This story helps children learn words to describe how they are feeling.

“When Sophie Gets Angry” Family Book Sheet

This book talks about why a young girl gets angry and ways she helps herself feel better.

“Owl Babies” Family Book Sheet

Three baby owls wait anxiously for their mother to return in this heartwarming story.

Family Book Sheets

Using books in early childhood is a great way to link new concepts to ideas that children already understand.

QR Code linked Book Sheets

These QR codes are offered for free by MSU Extension for some of the most popular and highly recommended children's books.