Emotional intelligence enables your child to express, understand and manage their own feelings. These personal skills also teach your child how to respect the feelings of others.
Children who learn about different emotions from an early age will find it easier to form friendships and face challenges when they start school. Furthermore, studies have found that children with higher levels of emotional intelligence are less likely to suffer with mental health issues.
I have collaborated with an independent girl’s school in London to share some useful advice on how to help your child develop their emotional intelligence…
Children develop empathy by experiencing it from others. Even if there is nothing you can do to change a bad situation, the key to calming your child’s emotional outburst is acknowledging their feelings. Simply let your child know that you understand how they are feeling. You can also help your child to recognise these feelings by putting a name to their emotions. For example, “I know you are disappointed that you can’t see your friends” or “I can see you are angry that your toy is broken”. Labelling their feelings is a useful step in learning how to manage emotions.
It is really important to allow your child to express their emotions. Try not to get frustrated or tell your child that they are ‘being silly’ when they are upset or scared. This will give them the message that their feelings are shameful and unacceptable. Instead, encourage your child to talk about how they are feeling and teach them that all feelings are part of being human. This will help your child to accept their own emotions, resolve issues and move forwards.
Part of helping your child to develop their emotional intelligence involves teaching them how to problem solve. After you have talked about their feelings, the next step is encouraging them to think about how they can fix the issue or learn from it. If your child makes a mistake, discuss what could have been done differently and what your child can do to fix their mistake. Try to guide your child instead of giving them the solutions. This will give your child the ability to solve problems effectively on they’re own.