One of the most important things in life is the ability to understand and manage our emotions in a way that helps us communicate more effectively, empathize with others, and build stronger relationships. All this is determined by our emotional intelligence (EI), measured by our emotional quotient (EQ).
Since children have an abundant emotional life, EI can be taught starting at an early age, first by helping them engage with their emotions and learn how to express them. By cultivating emotional intelligence in children, we help them be better prepared to face challenges and grief or loss. They become adults who can calmly and rationally manage complex situations.
But how can we teach mindfulness habits to our children and contribute to their emotional development? Read below for some useful and easily implemented tips.
1. Identify and define their feelings
Naming a feeling can be difficult, as it is something we all understand differently. To help children put into words what they feel, we could start with the basic ones: happy, sad and angry, and ask them to associate these with, for example, a favorite story or cartoon character’s feelings.
2. Show empathy
It is very important to validate your child’s feelings instead of minimizing them. Even if sometimes it might seem hard to understand why they are upset, showing them empathy and reassuring them that we understand how they feel creates a safe space where they can develop their emotional intelligence.
3. Develop problem-solving skills
Another important step in building emotional intelligence is working through the issue and trying to fix it. Once their feelings have been addressed, it’s easier to show children how to identify solutions for solving the problem. This can be done by asking them questions or coming up with as many ideas as possible together.
How can we recognize emotionally intelligent children?
Children with high EQ are generally confident and make friends very easily. They are also easy to talk to and will ask for help if they need it.
Building emotional intelligence in children has a lot of benefits, such as developing social awareness and achieving a high degree of self-control. This is a continuous process, and if implemented at a young age, children will become adults who face life with gratitude and will know how to manage and deal with their emotions.