Emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to acknowledge, express, and manage their feelings while also understanding the feelings of others. Over the past few years, studies and research have been emphasizing the importance of emotional intelligence in kids.
According to some studies, emotional intelligence helps kids throughout their life. Emotionally intelligent kids possess higher IQ, have better relationships with fewer conflicts, have better mental health, and achieve more success in their adulthood.
It’s a better idea to start your kid early on emotional intelligence. Here is how you can raise an emotionally intelligent kid.
Help your kid recognize their feelings
Kids experience several emotions, but understanding and expressing their feelings is always a challenge for them. Being a parent, you are responsible for helping your kid recognize their feelings.
Use labels like joy, hopeful, thrilled, excited, etc., to make them understand what they are feeling. Do not hesitate in using words like upset, painful, angry, shy, etc., because understating negative emotions is equally important.
By labeling their emotions, you help them build their emotional vocabulary. With this, you make your kid aware of their emotions; so that whenever they feel something, they would know how to express it.
Be empathetic towards your child
The emotions of children are always on the extreme sides. Either they are screaming with joy or throwing a temper tantrum. In either of the conditions, you may feel like toning them down. But with this, you convey to your kid that what they are feeling is wrong.
Instead of trying to mellow their feelings, show empathy to validate their feelings. Even if you think they are being overdramatic, tell them you completely understand why they are excited or upset. Being empathetic is more important when your child is angry or upset. In this case, if they realize that you understand their feelings, they will not go overboard to express. It means they will not scream or demonstrate disappointment with their behavior because they already know that you understand them.
Tell them the right way of expressing their feelings
While you encourage your kid to express their emotions, it’s important to teach them what healthy emotional expression looks like as well. For instance, encourage your kid to express anger by writing about their feelings or drawing a sad face on a piece of paper rather than screaming.
The best way to introduce them to appropriate ways of expressing feelings is by modeling those feelings yourself. Express your emotions in the same way you want your kid to express theirs. For instance, use your emotional vocabulary to tell them how you feel. Tell them when you are happy, sad, angry, or excited. Your kids will follow your example.
Help them develop coping skills
Help your kids deal with their emotions in the healthiest way. Teach them how to calm themselves down when they are angry, how to face their fears, and how to lift their spirits themselves when they are upset.
For instance, if your kid is very angry or upset, encourage them to do something they enjoy, like drawing something, reading their favorite comics or board books for babies, or watching their favorite cartoon. If they are angry, they can count from 10 to 1 and breathe slowly. You can develop several tools to help your kids channel their emotions and come out of negative emotions.
Help them develop problem-solving skills
Once your kid learns how to acknowledge, understand, and express their feelings, teach them how to deal with problems.
If your kid is angry or upset over not being able to finish their homework or score well on an exam, listen to their problem and go over strategies for how to fix the issue. Encourage them to think of different ideas to solve the problem they are facing, but do not be a problem-solver. The aim is for your kid to develop problem-solving skills on their own. Let them brainstorm and find the best solutions for their problems themselves. All you need to do is to guide them throughout the process.
The bottom line
Dealing with emotions is difficult even for adults, let alone the kids. But with these tips, you can make your child aware of their own and other people’s emotions. Use these tips to make your child emotionally intelligent and foster mindful growth.