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Emotional Intelligence In Children: 6 Ways To Help Kids Develop It Early

emotional intelligence in children

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, assess and control your emotions, understand what others are feeling, recognize the impact of your words and actions on others, and manage relationships with empathy.

Nurturing emotional intelligence in children may be one of the most important things you can do for your child’s future. Raising kids with emotional intelligence skills helps them learn from their mistakes, build strong relationships, and navigate the emotional roller coaster of teenage years.

But how do we encourage emotional intelligence in children? In this article, we will look at some of the most important ways parents can nurture emotional Intelligence in their children.

5 Benefits of Teaching Emotional Intelligence During Early Childhood

Emotional Intelligence is an important skill that kids need to develop in order to succeed in life. Here are some benefits which might be gained by teaching your children emotional Intelligence during early childhood.

  • Improved Academic Ability:  Children who possess good emotional intelligence skills are often better able to concentrate and focus on their work. Emotional Intelligence doesn’t guarantee success in school, but it can be a huge advantage and help your child do better academically.
  • Increased Empathy: Children tend to be more empathetic towards others. They learn how to take the emotions of others into account, and they grow up to become caring and compassionate adults.
  • Better Emotion Regulation: People with high levels of emotional Intelligence learn to control their feelings and don’t get as easily upset or flustered when things don’t go their way.
  • Improved Social Skills:  Children are often better at handling stressful situations with friends and peers and have an easier time making friends. They understand how to use humor to diffuse social tension, and they understand how to handle conflict without upsetting others or hurting feelings.
  • Better Decision-Making Skills:  When it comes to making decisions, emotionally intelligent children will take into account what is best for everyone, rather than just themselves. They weigh their options, and they are able to choose wisely. They don’t make impulsive decisions because they can see the long-term consequences of their actions.

Tips For Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children

In NY Baby Steps, nurturing emotional Intelligence in children is the main focus. And to help parents, We suggest a variety of ways that you can help your children develop this important skill set.

1. Help Your Kid Be Aware Of Emotions

help your kid be aware of emotions

Children need to learn how to recognize how they’re feeling. Help your child become aware of their emotions, and encourage them to tell you about their feelings at the moment. Help your little one by putting a name to his emotions (sad, happy, thrilled, anxious).

For instance, if you catch your child crying, don’t just ask, “What’s wrong?” Instead, you can ask, “Are you sad because Tommy took your toy? Or are you happy that Mommy’s home from work? It is important for children to be able to put a feeling into words in order to identify and label their emotions.

Emotional Intelligence starts with being able to understand what the feelings are. Awareness of emotions is the first step toward being empathetic and learning to understand other people.

2. Show Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand other people’s emotions. Teaching kids empathy skills can help them connect with others and feel concerned for people who are sad or upset. Teaching kids empathy may sound tricky, but it’s not. Here are some simple ways:

  • Talk to your children when someone is struggling in an age-appropriate way. For instance, if you see an elderly person having a hard time opening a door, you can ask your child, “Do you think I should help the lady by opening the door for her?” In this way, your child will learn how to use empathy to help others.
  • Play with your children. Ask questions such as “How might the main character be feeling?” or “What do you think the other person is feeling?” and then discuss what they can predict.
  • Teach your child to show empathy by giving compliments to others who are trying hard or being kind.

3. Model Proper Ways To Express Feelings

model proper ways to express feelings

A good way to start teaching about emotions is to model how you express your own feelings. Show your child how it’s done by expressing how you feel about a problem or something you enjoy. Help your little one see that emotions are a healthy part of life, and there is no right or wrong way to feel them.

Make use of feeling words in your everyday communication and practice talking about them. Say things like “I am upset that you spilled your milk,” or “I’m happy today because I got an ice cream at lunch.”

Emotionally intelligent parents are more likely to raise emotionally intelligent kids. So, focus on building your skills so you can be a good role model for your kid.

4. Teach Healthy Coping Skills And Strategies

Managing your own emotions can help you to handle stressful situations more skillfully. Teaching kids how to manage their own emotions instead of exploding in a fit of anger is a crucial step toward promoting emotional intelligence in kids.

Some tips:

  • Model good anger management. Do not yell at or hit other people or things (like a toy) when you get upset. Use positive ways like taking a deep breath or writing about it on paper to release your feelings without harm to yourself or others.
  • Practice yoga or tai-chi.
  • Learn how to release tension by counting one to ten.
  • Have a positive self-talk routine during difficult situations like getting angry, sad, frustrated, or fearful. Keep yourself going by saying things like, “I will not get angry because I can handle this!” “I am strong enough to know how to deal with this!”

Kids can learn more by watching their parents than by any other means. So, try to avoid yelling or losing your temper in front of your kid.

5. Develop Problem Solving Skills

One of the most important skills for children to learn is how to solve problems. This skill can help kids in many areas of their lives, including the classroom, social relationships, and dealing with the stresses of everyday life.

Solve real-world problems your child faces by helping them evaluate different solutions, pick one, and try it out. Then use the solution that worked best as a way to talk about problem-solving skills that can be applied to future situations. For instance, Your child is angry that his brother keeps interrupting him while playing a video game. Help him come up with at least 4 ways they might solve this problem. Solutions don’t have to be good. Initially, the goal is to brainstorm ideas.

You can also try to read stories together that show characters trying to solve problems (like Stuart Little). This way, you can help your child learn about different problem-solving strategies and how to make decisions when faced with several options.

6. Engage In Creative Activities And Games

engage in creative activities and games

Emotional Intelligence is a skill that you can learn. To help facilitate the learning process, make time for activities that engage your child’s emotions and encourage emotional expression. Here are some examples:

  1. Play the “What-if” game: What if? game gets children thinking about ways to respond to various situations. Ask questions that encourage your little one to behave with more emotional smarts: “What would you do if we were late to pick you up from school? How would you feel, or what would you do if your friend told you she didn’t like the way you look? What if your friend accidentally broke something and then blamed it on you?” Asking questions when emotions are not running high provides your kid a chance to generate ideas on how to respond.
  2. Act out a story: Read a story together that emphasizes making wise choices and expressing emotions. Then act out the story by taking turns playing the different characters. If your child cannot get a copy of the book, you can always use puppets or stuffed toys for this purpose.
  3. Work On Playing: Nowadays, it is hard for kids to find time to play with friends and enhance their social skills. So in order for them to get out of their usual routines and get to know more people, it is important that they spend some time playing games. Building a fort, putting on a play, or playing ‘restaurant’ together provide several chances for children to practice communicating their desires and resolving disagreements.

Final Thoughts

Emotional intelligence skills can be taught; however, it takes time and patience. If you’d like your child to have emotional intelligence, work on these tips and talk to your child about emotions often. Fortunately, EQ can be learned at any age as long as you clearly understand the process. In other words, there is no “too soon” to start teaching emotional intelligence skills!

Here in NY Baby Steps, we emphasize emotional Intelligence in our programs by constantly talking about emotions and the best way to handle situations when children are angry, sad, happy, or frustrated. Children learn how to tell us how they feel in a respectful manner, and we use that information to help them navigate through life. If you want to learn more about Baby Steps and how to help your child improve their emotional intelligence, reach out to us at babystepsny@gmail.com.