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Whole Child Learning Books for Kids that Promote Social-Emotional Intelligence

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Do you incorporate social-emotional intelligence into your homeschool? Your parenting? Or, perhaps your classroom? There seems to be a lot of buzz about social-emotional intelligence these days, and for a good reason, this intelligence is paramount to the full scope of a child’s development and sets them up for long-term success in all areas of life.

Developing social-emotional intelligence has been part of our vision for homeschool since the very early years of our journey. It is part of our Whole Child Learning model that we put into practice. As we enter our seventh homeschooling year, I can say with certainty that social-emotional intelligence isn’t something you teach in one lesson and hope for the best. Instead, this intelligence is best taught through example. That means illustrating for your children what it looks like to practice social and emotional maturity in their daily lives.

Still, some books are worth purchasing that help invite discussions about social-emotional intelligence with your children. Discussions help foster awareness, making it easier for your children to remember to put these skills into practice. Please keep reading to discover why social-emotional intelligence is essential and what books we’ve incorporated in our Morning Basket Time to invite lively conversations about what it means to be both socially and emotionally aware.

What is Whole Child Learning?

Whole Child Learning prioritizes the full scope of a child’s developmental needs to ensure that every child reaches their full potential. In 2007, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) launched the Whole Child Initiative to change the conversation about education from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement to promote children’s long-term development and success. The model is based on the premise that children have six selves that comprise who they are. These six selves must be nourished and developed with equal importance and care.

1. Cognitive

2. Physical

3. Emotional

4. Social

5. Creative

6. Spiritual (a personal addition I made to this model)

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?

Emotional intelligence is just one of the six selves that comprise the full scope of a child’s development. Unfortunately, it is the one area that parents and educators most overlook. Emotional intelligence allows children to understand and manage their emotions and is the precursor of positive social interactions. It helps children to communicate better, defuse conflicts, and empathize with others. Surprisingly, emotional intelligence also helps reduce anxiety and stress. Please take a look at the books we’re using in our homeschool to help open up the discussion of emotional intelligence during our Morning Basket Time.

Promote Emotional Intelligence

Me and My Feelings | A Kids’ Guide to Understanding and Expressing Themselves.

This book helps children recognize big feelings and provides healthy outlets for those strong emotions. Over thirty exercises, tips, and quizzes cover topics like anxiety, self-love, friendships, and more. What I love most about this book is that it promotes positive messages like “big feelings are okay,” “I am not my emotions,” and “I can overcome negative feelings.”

Get it on Amazon

Mindfulness Workbook for Kids | 60+ Activities to Focus, Stay Calm, and Make Good Choices

This mindfulness workbook helps children ages eight-twelve develop coping skills to handle difficult situations and manage strong emotions. The book encourages children to find focus and concentration while practicing being present and aware. I love that the exercises are a combination of drawing and writing, allowing for children who may have trouble expressing themself through the written language to participate in many of the activities.

Get in on Amazon

Why is Social Intelligence Important?

Social intelligence is more than just being around people; it is the capacity to communicate and form relationships with those around us. Strong social intelligence means your child knows him/herself and can exercise proper emotional management. Social intelligence is also crucial for developing empathy, listening to understand rather than to respond, and understanding and respecting the social rules of different groups. Please take a look below at the books we’re enjoying that invite discussion about social intelligence into our homeschool.

Promote Social Intelligence

Social Skills Activities for Kids | 50 Fun Exercises for Making Friends, Talking and Listening, and Understanding Social Rules

This book discusses the dos and don’ts of making and keeping friends, how to decode body language, the best way to start a conversation and keep it going, and much more. There are 50 activities designed to help children master social skills and give them the confidence to navigate just about any social situation. I love that all the examples in this book are real scenarios and relative to what children currently face, like bullying and using social media.

Get it on Amazon

Let’s Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent, and Respect | A Book to Teach Children About Body Ownership, Respectful Relationships, Feelings and Emotions, Choices and Recognizing Bullying Behaviors

This book teaches young children about body boundaries. It encourages a child’s growing sense of self and how they should expect to be treated by others. The illustrations are diverse and engaging, and the book is easy for children to understand. I love that this book also emphasizes the importance of respecting the body boundaries of others and encourages mutual respect.

Get it on Amazon


I hope you found this short book list helpful. To read more about Whole Child Education, click here.

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