Social Emotional Learning with Hello Genius

Social Emotion Learning with Hello Genius Characters

Heather Wittenberg, Psy.D.

Social Emotional Learning with Hello Genius

October 1, 2020

We all know that reading to our kiddos builds their intelligence. But did you know you can also teach your child important social-emotional lessons about empathy, independence, manners, and growing up, too? The simple act of sitting together and reading with your child automatically boosts your relationship. But make sure you pick books with themes that help children learn about themselves — and the world around them.

I’m an early childhood developmental specialist and psychologist, and I’ve had so much fun reading the Hello Genius books with my daughter. I first noticed the manageable size of the books and the smooth, rounded corners — hooray! These features make it easy for my daughter to help me hold the book and turn the pages without the worry of her getting bonked by an oversized book or sharp, pointed book corners. Next, I noticed the bright, fun illustrations, plus the age-appropriate amount of words and ideas on each page. So many children’s books these days are overwhelming for young ones, with too much action and “stuff” for little minds to absorb. Hello Genius has done their homework in placing just the right amount of action, color, silliness, and words on each page to make it a fun learning experience for each developmental level. Studies show that this kind of developmentally-appropriate reading is the best for boosting growing, young minds.

I love it that these books illustrate everyday scenarios that all babies and toddlers will relate to, including Nap Time for KittyPig Takes a Bath, and Snack Time for Cow. Your child is just getting the hang of daily life, and understanding everyday routines and activities gives him the understanding and sense of predictability that adds to his sense of security and comfort. Several books in the Hello Genius series describe common developmental milestones and challenges, such as Big Bed for GiraffeDuck Goes Potty, and Bye Bye Bottles, giving your little one support and encouragement as she grows through this busy time.

Science has found over and over again how crucial the social and emotional development of young children is to their overall health, well-being, and learning. As a child psychologist and mom of four, I see this every day in my practice and at home. So my favorite group of books in the series builds empathy and social skills, including Bear Says Thank YouHippo Says Excuse MePenguin Says Please, and Mouse Says Sorry. Complex, important social and emotional tasks like learning empathy, social skills, and independence are presented in toddler-friendly language. You might think you’re just reading about an active little monkey, but Little Monkey Calms Down is actually giving your child a helping hand in learning emotional regulation, social skills, manners, and problem-solving!

Have fun reading the Hello Genius books with your little kiddo, knowing that important developmental stages and milestones are integrated in every story. My daughter loves these books!

Heather Wittenberg, Psy.D.
Child Development, Parenting, and Social Media Consulting


Hello Genius Books Arranged by Recommended Developmental Stage

(developmental themes in parentheses)


6 Months and Older

9-10 Months and Older

12 Months and Older

18-24 Months and Older [Major Themes = Growing Up, Self-Control, Independence]

2–2½ Years and Older [Major Theme = Social Skills/Manners/Empathy]