How do you teach your kids emotional intelligence?
Children are like clay and us as parents an artisan, who can mold them and their behavior in whatever shape or size we want. As parents, we always want out children to do good thus we work hard to raise individuals who will go on to lead happy lives and have good moral standing. However, we often find ourselves at the crossroads, asking; what if our kids are less mature to understand the emotional complexities of the world?
Human behavior or choices are driven by what they brew up or what they have within. A child, who is bullied by his friend every single day, will both feel irritated and cry about it or he will just ignore the bullies not letting them occupy his peace of mind. Both choices depend on how he feels as a person, what he has been taught, and what his emotional status is.
Emotional intelligence is a combination of urge, self-regulation, empathy, self-awareness and social skills all packed together. Emotional intelligence can be very effective for kids with learning and attention issue. Teaching emotional intelligence can tune children to deal with new and different situations happening around them, which will help them make better life decisions.
Why emotional intelligence is so important for kids?
Mastering emotional intelligence is imperative to living a better life. Children who master emotional intelligence skills become better leaders, enjoy fulfilling relationships with others, study more productively, are better able to retain information, have better absorption skills and live happier and more satisfied lives.
One of the best things emotional intelligence can do is shape children to respond to challenges. Either challenge related to studies or life, they are able to garner the strength to overcome any hurdle on their way to success. They start valuing themselves and understand that not everyone is the same and we should accept that.
The very act of value and respect for others feeling and emotion allows them to be more giving and confident. This is the reason why it is so necessary to develop and enhance emotional intelligence skills in our children.
What you can do to teach emotional intelligence to kids
As parents, you can honestly do a lot to make sure your child learns about emotional intelligence and here are some practical ways to achieve this feat.
Help your child recognize their own emotion
Children are either happy or sad or angry. They hardly witness any other emotions other than these, and likely cannot differentiate between emotions. However, once you decide to help them with recognizing emotions, whether it is anger or frustration, they start taking ownership.
When your child feels upset or discouraged or even happy, make sure you ask them to describe what they are feeling at that present moment and what made them feel like that. Moreover, make sure they know what the emotion they are experiencing is called and its consequences. Do it often so they get to know what it feels like to be sad, angry, or frustrated and they will learn to name and identify their own emotion.
Practice using phrases like “I can sense you are getting upset” to convey the information about an emotion to your children. Teachers can use images of emotional soft toys and ask children to pick up which soft toy they are feeling. Once they pick up a soft toy, teachers can ask them to explain the same emotion to other students and what made them feel like that.
Recognize emotions as an opportunity to connect
Whether your child is six months old or sixteen years old, he/she needs you to listen to the feeling he is trying to express, as wrath does not begin to dissipate until it feels heard. Once your child feels you are listening, he will be happy about the fact that there is someone to hear them out and thus they will more often share their feelings with you, assured that it is safe.
You may use this opportunity to connect, heal and help them grow. Listen to them carefully stay compassionate, kind and loving. Children have this amazing ability to let their feelings wash over and out, leaving them carefree and cooperative. Your job is to be present for them, listen to them and making sure that you teach the right lessons – about a particular feeling – to them. This creates an unbreakable bound between you and your kid.
Let your child know more about your own emotions
Children are usually around their parents for most of the time and learn a lot by just observing them. Tell your children how you are feeling and allow them to perceive it for themselves. We often only think about emotions when they are big and hard to deal with, like feeling disappointed or sad or angry and your children will likely know when you are feeling any of these.
You can always take a moment to explain how you deal with any of such emotions. It is important that you talk about both positive and negative emotions. For example, let your kid know that you are happy because your friend agreed to offer an assignment help or let them know you are worried because you yet again messed up while cooking. Tell them what it feels like to you and what could be the consequences.
Moreover, sometimes our emotions are sparked by something our child may have done either good or bad. Our reactions to such situations could also teach them a lot about EI. For example, if you react angrily to any sort of mischief your kid may have done, they will know your trigger point and will think twice before repeating the same thing again.
Recognize their mood at different places
Our mood and feelings vary depending upon the location we are at. The same child who is calm around his friends might be difficult to handle when at home. Try recognizing your child’s mood at different locations so you can figure out what excites him and/or what makes him feel sad
Some children might like to explore the world, thus they keep hopping around everywhere while others enjoy being home inside warm blankets. It is their choice. What you can do is ask them why they want to do this rather than that.
Things not to do while teaching emotional intelligence
Yes, there are some don’ts as well that you need to practice if you want your child to learn emotional intelligence.
Do not scold your child for their negative emotions
Negative emotions are part of life, and you, as parents need to understand that. Negative emotions will likely fade away as kids grow but until then make sure you deal with any such situations with ease. By ignoring their feelings or conveying the message that their feelings are wicked, you are in effect sending the message that they are bad, which can have an adverse effect on their baby mind.
Do not convey frustration
Sometimes our kids will do or say things, that are completely unacceptable and it is hard to understand the emotions that appear wrong or silly. But try putting yourself in your child’s shoes. Ask questions, seek understanding, and instead of getting frustrated, let them know that you are on their side. They want you to support them, and you need to make sure you are present to hold their hand when things feel tough.
Do not doubt your child’s ability to grow
Children have an inherent ability to develop into smart and productive adults who can solve problems and react intelligently to life’s difficulties. Thus, make sure you believe in them. As children, they just need a hand to hold, a listening ear and a guide who is you.
Being a parent is challenging yet a beautiful experience, and with these steps mentioned above, you can make it even more beautiful for both you and your kids.
Albert David is a digital marketer and an elearning consultant from Sydney. Now he works as a content manager at Online Assignment Help Company. Besides, he is a regular contributor to such websites as WN.com, Assignment Help Sydney, Techpatio etc. Read his latest post about Australian Etiquettes.