Emotional Intelligence in children, why is it important now than ever before? The times are unnerving. Parents are constantly wondering how to develop Emotional Intelligence in children?We, adults, are constantly under stress about something or the other, be it our career, our future, our kid’s career and future, the present scenario which is showing hardly any sign of improvement soon. Just think that if we are facing trouble in adjusting to this situation, how troublesome it can be for the kids for whom the entire world has turned upside down and they can’t figure out what’s going on.
The times are testing our emotional intelligence quite well. Emotional intelligence is the ability to find favourable ways of dealing with stressful situations and finding out positive coping mechanisms to understand, communicate and manage our own emotions. It allows us to face challenges and overcome conflicts in a much more effective way. Traits like empathy, respect, kindness, emotional awareness, self-awareness and social awareness are a part of it.
How to develop Emotional Intelligence in children?
Considering the present scenario, it’s wise to introduce and promote emotional intelligence in your child. Here are certain ways by which you can make your child learn emotional intelligence:-
Model emotional intelligence and present an example:
Kids are very keen observers. Nothing escapes their curious eyes. So, the best way to teach them and get them in action is to get in the action yourself. You should practice emotional intelligence frequently so that the kids can learn and understand what and how emotional intelligence looks like.
Present them with a model of how to control their emotions. Make sure you constantly display empathy, compassion and self-awareness in your behaviour. The kids would follow suit.
Talking and labelling emotions for emotional intelligence:
Young kids need to know what they are feeling and what is it called. This is required so that they understand that when they are going through a particular feeling, what exactly they have to do to manage it healthily.
Introduce them to words like ‘angry’, ‘sad’, ‘upset’, ‘painful’, ‘annoyed’ while telling them about positive emotions as well. If the child looks happy, ask them, “ are you feeling happy/joyous/excited/hopeful?” Talk about your feelings while using the words of emotion. This would make them feel it’s natural and right to talk about feelings.
A family charter/guidelines to develop emotional intelligence:
It’s imperative to have family guidelines that all the members have to follow. The family charter about emotional intelligence addresses what do you, as a family want to feel, through what ways are you going to achieve that, how will the family constructively resolve the conflicts both among themselves and with the outside world?
Forming such charters can act as a go-to guide when things need taming. Your child should know you understand his feelings well. This would create joint accountability and instigate emotional intelligence in kids too.
Positive coping skills in Emotional intelligence:
Dealing with complex emotions and sudden outbursts are one of the most important parts of emotional intelligence. At times, we parents also fail this process. We need to teach the kids what to do to cope up with anger, disappointment and grief.
Taking deep breaths, asking them to talk when they feel their anger has receded can help them calm themselves once they have affirmed their emotions. You can help them create a joy box which comprises their favourite books, toys, attractive looking stuff that would relax them in times of need.
Problem analysis and solving for emotional intelligence:
After understanding that there is some problem, it’s crucial to analyse the issue. Why did it happen? What was the cause and what are the consequences? What could I have done better to avoid the problem? Make your kids ask these questions to themselves and delve into the problem.
You can ask them to give some solutions they that are best suited to overcome the issue. Then you can discuss the pros and cons of each solution and choose the one best suited. This would develop the requires problem-solving skills in them. Always remember, emotional intelligence is a process and it would develop in the child gradually.
Validate their feelings and reward good emotional intelligence:
If at all you see glimpses of budding emotional intelligence in your child, it’s always a good idea to reward them. This would motivate them to do those actions continuously which would become their nature in the long run.
You can also use their mistakes as a chance for improvement. Once they realise their mistake, you can ask them how can they do better in the future and ask them to follow that. Look out for the positives, see when they are empathetic, compassionate and display good emotional balance and validate them.
One can evaluate emotional intelligence as a measure of Emotional quotient (EQ). High emotional intelligence in children ensures they have high intelligence (IQ) as well. The kids equipped with these skills can make better connections with people around them, understand and adapt to their surroundings well and do well in their life in terms of academics too.
With the current apocalyptic situation, it can be a great avenue to introduce the kids with emotional intelligence as you would get plenty of situations and examples where they would be able to practically evolve and train at acknowledging their emotions in a much more structured way.
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