Emotional Intelligence (EQ) talks about how we understand our own emotions, and how we take social cues from people besides ourselves. It affects how you can “read” other people’s emotions and your ability to cooperate with them. Studies show that a person’s EQ might be even more important than their IQ, so developing it early on will help your child a lot.
According to the most common models, there are five different categories of emotional intelligence:
- Self-Awareness, the ability to recognize and name your emotions
- Self-Regulation, the ability to control your emotions
- Motivation, otherwise known as initiative and drive
- Empathy, the ability to understand how other people feel
- Social Skills, otherwise known as communication and social management
In this article, we will be talking about how to train these traits in our children so they grow up emotionally intelligent. And who knows, maybe we adults can learn a thing or two as well.
Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation
The easiest way to teach your child to be self-aware is to allow them to feel and express themselves. Forcing them to repress negative emotions may have a harmful impact afterwards. When you acknowledge, help them to articulate how they feel. Empower them in widening their emotional vocabulary. This, in turn, teaches them how to deal with their emotions head on.
Sense of Motivation
Motivation isn’t a very hard emotional skill to teach. The best way to do so is simply to reward them for doing things. Did they pick up their toys? Praise them for it! Did they finish their food? Congratulate them! It may seem a little petty to do this, but the little victories are what teaches them that yes, you can do good things and feel good doing them.
Empathy for Others
The easiest way to teach empathy to your child is to empathize with them. Understand why they’re feeling that way and acknowledge it without having to agree with them. Feeling understood can make a whole world of difference for them.
Strong Social Skills
Many skills in this category are based off of the ability to solve problems. To teach your kids the necessary social skills is to teach them how to deal with problems one by one. Go through the feeling and the crying, then let them figure out the solution for themselves. You shouldn’t rush in and solve everything for them, otherwise they won’t learn to become emotionally independent.
Sometimes it helps to roleplay with your child, especially when they’re dealing with bigger problems like emotional attachments. Since your child is young, sitting down and talking about big problems might not so well, so concretizing such abstract problems through games and make-believe can help them work out their emotions.
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