Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is how a person identifies, evaluates, controls, and expresses their feelings. This is important for our families, because there is a strong correlation between high emotional intelligence and success in life. After All, we want our children to thrive and enjoy the world around them.
Here are some tips for parents to help with raising an emotionally intelligent child.
As parents, we need to start when our kids are young so we will already have a solid relationship when they encounter problems and adversity. This can happen a variety of ways. For instance, when they are infants we should timely respond to their cues, cries, and needs. As they grow, play games, take walks, or make dinner together to develop a strong relationship.
If we want our kids to develop emotional intelligence, we must teach them how to recognize and name their emotions. This is especially beneficial with small children, because it lets them know we are hearing them and validating their feelings.
One of the best ways we can support a child while they are learning emotional intelligence is to discuss feelings. We need to tell children what we are feeling, how others make us feel, and how we can deal with our emotions. As a child ages and becomes more verbal, encourage them to share their thoughts. When having a conversation with a child, always remember to avoid yelling, name calling, and harsh judgments. We want them to feel safe and open to sharing their thoughts with us.
It’s no secret that we are our child’s first teachers. We need to be especially mindful of how we handle emotions, relationships, and adversity in front of their watchful eyes. It is important that we model the behaviors that we want them to learn.
This goes hand in hand with setting a good example, but it is critical our children know how to make-up or admit when they are wrong. If we make a mistake or raise our voice in front of our boys or girls, we need to ensure they witness us attempt to make amends.
One of the best ways to develop empathy, the ability to see the world from another person’s shoes, is to volunteer. Find a cause or two that a child is passionate about to get them excited to help others. Besides learning about different perspectives, a child will learn a powerful firsthand lesson about the impact they can have on others.
Harness a child’s love of play to develop and practice emotional intelligence. Role play with dolls, dinosaurs, or Legos. Get creative and bring in emotional intelligence during an afternoon of dress up or playing school. To keep the fun rolling, play games with a child that focus on building skills like recognizing emotions, playing fair, being respectful, and more! The sky’s the limit, just have fun and enjoy the time spent with our sons and daughters.