Emotional literacy

There are five main aspects of emotional intelligence which, when developed, lead to children becoming emotionally literate. These are identified by Daniel Goleman in his book 'Emotional Intelligence'.

They are:

Knowing their emotions

The first stage is self-awareness - recognising a feeling as it happens. Children eventually reach the stage where they can be aware of an emotion rather than being overwhelmed by it. However they do not learn this over night!

Managing their emotions

Once children are aware of their feelings they can learn to handle them. Children need to learn ways of reassuring themselves when they're feeling anxious, calming themselves down when they're angry, soothing themselves when they are upset etc. Every feeling has its value and significance - they are a reflection of what is going on in their lives.

How comfortable your child is feeling in relation to painful emotions determines their emotional well-being.


Children need to harness their emotions in order to identify their goals and reach them. When they are in charge of their emotions, rather than beset by them, they can take charge of their actions. They must learn to resist the lure of instant self-gratification and develop self-discipline if they are to achieve any long term aims.
Recognising emotions in others


The awareness of what another person is feeling, is the most important 'people skill' of all, and essential for satisfying relationships.

Children who are treated with empathy and respect will grow up to be empathetic and respectful.

Handling relationships

Children are enabled to build successful relationships when they have become skilled in coping with other people's emotions, whilst managing and expressing their own effectively.
Emotionally literate people are good to be around because they establish good rapport with us, and we feel able to entrust them with our feelings.