The importance of developing emotional intelligence in your child. {with printable}

According to Daniel Goleman , an American psychologist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, there are five key elements to it:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

But why is it so important to have emotional intelligence?

Research has shown that children who are emotionally intelligent do better in both school and work (Elias & Weisberg, 2000; Elias et al., 1997; Payton et al., 2000). The reason is that they are able to empathise with their friends and communicate better with peers. Good communication skills and resilience are becoming highly sought-after traits in the workforce. Emotionally intelligent people are better able to cope with difficult situations and people and at the same time able to perform well both at work and in school.

Emotional intelligence is your child’s ability to identify, evaluate, regulate, and express his or her emotions. A higher level of emotional intelligence is being able to use feelings to identify and solve challenges, communicate with others, and make decisions.

Click here to download the “It is Okay” worksheets

Here are 4 Steps To Nurture Emotional Intelligence in Your Child

  1. Be mindful of when your child is having an emotional reaction

    Sometimes we overlook an emotional reaction and wrongly see it as a misbehaviour. It is important to keep at the back of our minds that many undesirable behaviours are results of emotional turmoil within a child. In order to help your child develop emotional intelligence, we ourselves need to be able to identify their feelings before they can. Only then can we help them identify their own feelings.

  2. Acknowledge & validate your child’s feelings

    Often parents say “don’t cry” or “there’s nothing to be scared of, see?” while trying to help our children “overcome” their emotions. But that is not the right way. The first step in helping them overcome their emotion is by acknowledging what they are going through, telling them it’s alright to be feeling as such. 

  3. Help your child label their feelings

    Then it is time to help them understand the unpleasant feeling inside of them. Help them name their emotion. Let them know that this is how people feel when things happen in a certain way. It’s also good if you can bring in your own experience and share them with your child. So they know feelings are not unique to them and that we adults also go through the same things. That would be less intimidating for your child.

  4. Help your child problem-solve with limits

    I always tell my children that all emotions are acceptable but not all behaviors are acceptable. This means that they are allowed to feel but not allowed to act in ways that are hurtful to other people, harmful to objects, or with a less than a desirable attitude. You need to help your child cope with his or her emotions by teaching problem-solving skills. Limit the expression to appropriate behaviors. This involves planning ahead how to react if they begin to feel anger, for example.

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