The Basic Psychology Behind Teaching Children Emotional Literacy

Dizzy Waggle Question Prompts is a fun and effective tool to teach children emotional intelligence and deepen the bond between adult and child. This downloadable PDF resource offers a gentle guided approach to nurturing long-term resilience and encouraging honest conversations.

With 40 unique questions designed to identify and express a range of emotions, Dizzy Waggle Question Prompts is playful, insightful, educational, and the perfect recipe for connection!




Dizzy Waggle Question Prompts is designed to teach children emotional literacy, which is the ability to identify and label a range of emotions. As children begin to understand when they feel a particular emotion and can express it and even perhaps manage it through self-regulation, this is emotional intelligence.

According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence includes a few skills, "namely emotional awareness, or the ability to identify and name one’s own emotions; the ability to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes both regulating one’s own emotions when necessary and helping others to do the same." 

Children are more likely to develop high emotional intelligence (known as EQ) if they grow up feeling comfortable labelling their emotions and are able to understand how an emotion feels in the body and how it can make a person think or behave

One way we can help our kids to build this helpful life skill is through positive reinforcement, which involves using encouragement and praise to teach kids it’s GOOD to express their emotions - whether it's happiness or anger, pride or worry, courage or sadness.

Emotional expression is extremely beneficial for long-term mental wellness and resilience, as well as building healthy and fulfilling interpersonal relationships in adulthood.



According to the Oxford Dictionary, positive reinforcement is, “the process of encouraging or establishing a pattern of behaviour by offering reward when the behaviour is exhibited.”

Receiving a positive reaction or outcome when we do a something will naturally make us feel good! We then connect that pleasant or rewarding feeling with the task at hand. In this case, it's communicating our feelings.



On the flip side, a child can be put off behaving in a certain way when an action is met with an unfavourable reaction. This is called negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement around emotional expression has long seen children grow up being told to "harden up" if they cry, or "keep quiet" and "be good" if they’re angry or overly excitable.

This type of negative reinforcement teaches children that their feelings are weak, shameful, or bad and it’s safer to hide them. As a species our core instinct is survival, so when something is seen as a 'threat', we'll naturally want to avoid it at all costs. 

This is why many adults today and particularly men find it difficult to recognise and express their feelings. There are often blocks that've been put in place to prevent uncomfortable emotions from rising to the surface. Blocks can include:

- Substance abuse and addiction as a means of numbing away uncomfortable feelings.

- An avoidant attachment style in romantic relationships that allows them to keep another person at arm's length, so not to stir too much emotional vulnerability.

- Adopting workaholic or 'the grind' tendencies in an unconscious attempt to avoid having to slow down and sit with themselves and any uncomfortable feelings.




Of course, these blocks can be worked on and lifted, and change can be made, it's just harder for adults whose beliefs and habits are already engrained. But Dizzy Waggle Question Prompts was designed to help adults practice expressing themselves, too.

Each question has been created with a purpose, whether that’s to gently guide conversation around a specific emotion or invite a child AND adult into their playfulness.

Often, we forget to be silly or play amid the constant stream of responsibilities and letting our walls down can be exactly what we need. Children want us to laugh with them and make the silliest noise we can think of in that moment (yes, that’s a prompt!) while we help them build their important neural pathways.



Neural pathways are like 'wiring' in the brain, which are formed as we learn or relearn information from experiences. The more the pathways are used (think repetition and practice), the stronger they become. The narratives we were taught about the world and ourselves as children have a significant impact on our neural pathways today.

According to Pathways, the pathways we create as a child can, in many ways, be the foundation of our learning and thinking throughout our lives.” 

This brings me to one of my favourite quotes by Frederick Douglass, which reads:

“It's easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”


To help with positive reinforcement for your child as they build their emotional literacy through neural pathways, we created a print-off Dizzy Waggle sticker chart that’s available as a FREE download when you purchase the resource.

Each time your child completes a question prompt exercise, you can use 
positive reinforcement by rewarding them with a sticker on their chart. 

Then, if you like, you can reward your child with a special experience when they fill up 10, 20, or all 50 sticker spaces.

The great thing about the Dizzy Waggle Question Prompts is kids won't even realise they're learning. It's simple and fun and you can use our creative ideas for getting the best out of this resource.



There are two options available for purchasing this digital resource for just $6.00

This is a downloadable PDF file that’s emailed directly to your inbox so you save it to your device or desktop.

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