Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify feelings in ourselves and others. It also involves knowing how to manage your emotions and appropriately respond to others. High levels of emotional intelligence enable us to build strong and meaningful relationships. Successful management of emotions has also been linked to improved physical health, better long-term mental health, and increased chances of success in a career. How can parents help their children develop this important quality?
Daily Habits for High Emotional Intelligence
Like other types of intelligence, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learned. Use these tips to guide your children to a better understanding of themselves and the people around them.
- Encourage your children to recognize their own feelings. Have younger children draw pictures of their big emotions, then talk to them about them. Older children benefit from private journals and time alone with a trusted adult. Use this time to teach them words to identify the feelings they are having.
- Create a feelings chart. Draw pictures or use printed cutouts of faces displaying different emotions. Affix them to a poster board and label each picture with a single word. Young children and those who struggle with their verbal skills can use the board to point out how they’re feeling when they are too upset to use their words.
- Model the behavior you want to see. When you are upset, happy, or distraught, explain to your child how you feel. Let them know that it’s okay to have big feelings, as long as you use that energy in the proper manner.
- Show empathy. Our adult minds are often preoccupied with serious issues. It can be easy to dismiss your child when they are acting out of frustration or other negative emotions. Instead, allow your child to speak their mind. Acknowledge their reasoning and help them work through the emotion. Taking the time to listen can keep an emotional outburst at bay.
Your loving and continued guidance is essential to your child’s emotional growth.
Emotional Intelligence Benefits the Whole Family
Emotional intelligence is an important part of building a strong, cohesive family unit. Parents who prioritize this trait will see a huge difference in their daily family life.
- Less fighting, yelling, and bickering will occur when family members are able to talk through their emotions.
- Family members work together better when they are able to understand each other’s feelings.
- Knowing how to deal with the emotions of others reduces stress levels. Childhood stress has been linked to a number of health and social consequences.
High emotional intelligence gives children the tools to create strong social networks, boosts self-esteem, and contributes to a strong foundation they can use to build a successful life. With your patience and good example, your children can improve their abilities to recognize and respond to emotional stimuli.