Emotional intelligence is an important component of a child's development. The recognition of expressions in others is not a skill that is typically taught in school, rather, children learn it by trial and error. As with any skill, some people become better at it than others. Research has shown that children who can recognize facial expressions and body language of others, grow up into adults who can recognize the emotional expressions, of others [Goleman, 1995].
The recognition of emotions in others begins with an awareness of body language. Darwin documented posture, and movement in the limbs, trunk and head as well as facial expression to typify emotional expression [Darwin, 1965]. Body language and the affective information contained therein, is a critical complement to vocal communication. Playing with the Affective Tigger, the child learns to associate slouched shoulders and a drooping head with unhappiness.
Teaching children social skills is more than an exercise in futility. Many people argue that children will learn that their actions have consequences without the aid of a toy. However, there are dozens of alarming statistics documenting the increase in violence in today's schools [Leiderman, 1981]. This terrifying trend is being blamed on the lack of a formalized emotional educational curriculum in schools. Such instruction can benefit the child when emotional intelligence is explicitly taught in the classroom and is reinforced at home, when the child has toys such as the Affective Tigger to practice her skills on.