10 Jan Raising Emotionally Intelligent Kids
“When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.” -Fred Rogers
Whether we admit it or not, we often put more emphasis on our children’s academic skills and use it to gauge how smart they are and even as a predictor of their future success.
However, several studies conclude that nurturing a child’s emotional intelligence has more positive effects than we can imagine and is proven to be a better driver for success rather than what kids can achieve academically.
So What is Emotional Intelligence?
According to Howard Gardner, an influential Harvard theorist, “EQ (emotional quotient/intelligence) is the level of one’s ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them”
Emotional Intelligence stems from a wide range of skills that children of all ages can develop and improve on.
These skills are important to help a person understand, empathize, and negotiate with others in order to achieve success.
And while some kids are more naturally in tune with their EQ and may be able to easily deal with new people, situations and environment easily, other kids need more help and support in building these skills.
Related: What is Emotional Intelligence?
What are the Benefits of Emotional Intelligence?
Several studies conclude that emotional intelligence provides a lot of benefits that will serve your child well during his younger years until adulthood. Some of the benefits are:
Better Performance in School
Children with high level of emotional intelligence are found to perform much better on standardized tests and tend to have higher grades.
Strong emotional intelligence helps children to develop stronger relationships as they learn to manage conflict, build empathy, and develop better relationships.
Improved Mental Health
Higher emotional intelligence can help kids manage emotions and stress making one less vulnerable to anxiety and depression.
Better Problem Solving Skills
Emotional intelligence will equip your child with the tools that they need to effectively analyze situations and solve problems.
The great news is, emotional intelligence skills can be learned and developed. So, how do you nurture and support your kids’ emotional intelligence?
Start with these simple steps:
Acknowledge your child’s feelings and empathize with him
Letting your child know that you understand where he is coming from, even if you don’t really agree with him, will make it easier for him to let go of the negative emotions.
This will help him acknowledge that he has his own perspective that people should respect that. This will help him learn to empathize and respond to other’s outbursts and behaviors, too.
Let your child express his emotions
Emotions need to be expressed and children sometimes express their feelings in inappropriate ways.
When this happens, you may get a bit embarrassed by your child’s actions and this is totally understandable but this can also repress your kid’s emotions.
Try not to stop your child from venting out his emotions.
Instead, help him find more appropriate ways of expressing them.
When you accept your child’s emotions and allow him to express it, he also learns to accept his feelings and understands it better, making it easy for him to resolve it.
Be there to listen to your child’s emotions
It is natural for a child to vent out aggressively or in tears when he is feeling big emotions.
This is because they don’t know how to handle their feelings yet.
And this is why it is so important for you to listen to what your child is feeling and to let him know that you are there for him no matter what.
When your child is able to understand this, he will feel more comfortable, knowing he is secure, which helps him better take care of his emotions without having to act out or go into a tantrum.
Help your child in problem solving
Children usually act out intense emotions when they don’t get what they want or something did not go their way.
While it is okay to let them express their emotions, it is also important for us to help children solve problems or find other ways to make up for what is lacking.
You don’t have to spoon feed them with solutions unless they ask for it.
But you can guide them with what to do once the emotion has passed.
With this, they will be able to think it out, positively distracting them from negative feelings and behaviors and making the emotion pass by faster.
Let your child play out his emotions
Play is actually a healthy coping mechanism for children.
So, when you see your child on the verge of a big emotion that you know he can’t handle well yet, step in with a game.
This will help your little one vent out his emotions through it, thus releasing stress hormones that will help him resolve his feelings better.
Parenthood is a continuous learning process to respond to others with empathy and compassion rather than frustration.
And this mission comes with the desire to raise equally compassionate and emotionally intelligent kids that help others get through their emotions while handling their own confidently.
With your support and guidance, your child can develop the emotional intelligence and strength he needs to succeed in life.
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