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As a child is growing up, the entire focus from the parents as well as from the school is majorly on ensuring he does well in the subjects of science, math, and language as well as any other activities that constitute of part of the curriculum. But life isn’t all about doing well in subjects. Emotional intelligence in young children plays a vital role in sculpting them into the individual they will grow up to be. Your child’s signs of understanding your anger when he doesn’t perform well or his friend’s sadness on losing his pet are all signs that you need to be aware of, indicating the presence of a high quotient of emotional intelligence.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
In simple terms, the ability of an individual to understand his own emotions, as well as others, is what constitutes as emotional intelligence. People who have high emotional intelligence are adept at noticing how emotions affect others and understand the motivations behind their actions. Emotional intelligence is measured with EQ, which is different from IQ. An EQ is a measure of understanding multiple aspects.
Importance of Emotional Intelligence for Kids
Emotional intelligence is a key marker in establishing how well-balanced a child will be in his own life as well as in various social situations involving interaction with people on different emotional spectrums.
1. Awareness of The Self
Having high emotional intelligence enables a child to understand his own emotions and know very well why he is feeling what he is feeling. He can also understand why he feels like committing an action and where that feeling is stemming from. This self-awareness is absolutely necessary for understanding what your strengths and weaknesses are.
2. Regulating Your Own Actions
Having developed a good understanding of why he feels what he does, a kid with good emotional intelligence can then make efforts in correcting his actions and make sure that any impulses that might cause harm to himself or others are kept in check. He can reason with those feelings and understand that the emotion does not necessarily need to translate into a harmful action.
3. Inducing Motivation
Control over emotions grants any child with the ability to harness them when needed and channel them in a way that can be beneficial. Emotions of anger and aggression are useful in certain sports to go beyond the limit and motivate oneself to do better. Other situations might benefit from using frustration in a way to try doing something in a different manner.
4. Empathizing with Others
Only a person who can understand himself well can fully and successfully empathize with others. That is purely because he understands emotions to a very deep level. Children who are able to connect with their emotional side and harness it well, can empathize with others in a similar situation and be more understanding of their predicaments.
5. Better Social Skills
Interacting with people and creating good relationships is all a matter of navigating the variety of emotional contours and textures of every individual. Children having high emotional intelligence can grow up to be people who can easily connect with others and can hold their identity by being a strong social person.
How To Develop Emotional Intelligence In A Child?
There are numerous emotional intelligence activities for kids that you can undertake in order to get them started on the path of being better individuals and ones that have a good emotional quotient.
1. Learning How To Be Calm In A Moment of Anger
If you return home after a bad day and something starts irritating you, you can keep your calm and simply state that you are not in a good mood and need some time to relax and calm down before you can listen to others. This helps in family members being understanding of the situation, too.
2. Communicate Your Feelings
Teach your kid to be open to expressing his emotions, making the home a safe environment for it. Let him be okay with letting you know that he wants to cry or he is angry with something. Communication is the first step in resolving any situation.
3. Encourage Good Performance
Children are not able to control their impulses and emotions easily. Which is why, if your child is used to throwing things around, and one day, he doesn’t do so but plainly states that he is extremely angry, hug him and let him know that you are proud of the fact that he communicated and didn’t unleash his anger in throwing things.
4. A Non-Zero Sum Game
Let your children learn early in life that not every decision is a win-lose. There can always be solutions that can be win-win. Teach them the concept of compromise which can be initiated only after clear, calm communication is established.
5. Identify Their Motivation
Watch your child and figure out what is it that keeps him going. Talk to him on those lines by focusing on the aspects that work in this regard. You can make him aware that it is good to keep trying despite failure and help him use his emotions to achieve the goals he has set his mind to.
6. Teach Positive Affirmations
You won’t always be around to encourage your child and he needs to start doing things independently by himself as well. Allow him to understand the fact that he can use positive self-talk to make him handle his emotions better and keep himself focused and motivated throughout.
7. Focus on Problem-Solving
When faced with obstacles and problems, help your child understand that it is better to understand the problem and address it piece by piece than throwing a tantrum and being saddened by it. Problem-solving skills can go a long way ahead in life.
8. Better Ways To Channel Emotions
Experiencing frustration and anger is natural. But channelling it the right way is necessary, too. Try to get your child involved in a physical activity by gifting him a boxing bag that helps him address his anger. It is much better to instead translate the anger into simple clear statements that address the issue.
9. Calming Down On Their Own
Teach your kid methods to prevent impulsive action, such as taking deep breaths and counting slowly up to 10, or drinking some water. Many techniques like these are effective in calming down the person immediately.
10. Make Them Aware Of Stress
Preventing a problem is better than resolving one. Therefore, teach your child to be aware of any situations or triggers that might cause stress in him. By knowing them, he can take the right measures to avoid them or prepare himself to face them without surrendering to his emotions.
11. Understanding Emotions Of Others
Learning to read people’s faces and various verbal and non-verbal cues is a good way to douse an upcoming argument or offer support to someone in trouble. Let your child be aware of various cues he has himself so that he can be more aware of them occurring with others.
12. Be Open To Talking Freely
Make it comfortable to have your child talk to you about anything that he might face. Having a communication channel that your child can trust and be open with is extremely necessary.
13. Labelling Emotions
At times, the situation can be quite complex to understand what exactly your child might be feeling. In such cases, helping him label the emotion in plain simple terms can not only clear up things for you but help him understand what he’s feeling as well.
14. Accept Your Kid For Who He Is
Not every child is the same. Some are sensitive, some have anger issues. Let your child know verbally that you are aware of what he is feeling and offer to help him out with it. Acceptance can stop the situation from getting worse.
Why is EI Important for Children with Learning and Attention Issues?
Emotional intelligence games for children and all these activities are extremely essential, especially for children who have issues with learning and paying attention. These children have an added degree of difficulty since they have to face frustration on a daily basis, by seeing their peers do various activities quite easily while they can’t do so.
Often, emotional intelligence can change the outcome of a frustrating situation from a tantrum-filled, crying or inbuilt frustrated day to one that is full of communication, help and growth for the child and his family.
Why do Some Children Often Struggle with Emotional Intelligence?
Not all kids who have learning issues struggle with emotional intelligence. But the reverse can be true in some cases where low EQ could be indicative of the presence of a behavioural problem. ADHD afflicted children, kids with hearing problems and many others tend to misinterpret or ignore social cues altogether.
On the contrary, there have been cases where children with behavioural problems have shown surprisingly spectacular emotional intelligence, with great ability to understand and empathize with others. The emotional quotient in children is a pretty important marker of their growth and development from a child to a young individual. Although this might not be addressed necessarily in the school, it is necessary for parents to be aware of this, take their child’s behaviour into account, and work together in helping them understand themselves and others in a better way.
An emotionally intelligent child grows up to be a better individual in the future and is liked by all. He even has a sense of self, the ability to empathise with others, and most importantly, he is social, which is a basic skill that is useful for life. There are too many good reasons to work on your child’s emotional intelligence. Try these tips to make your little fella emotionally intelligent, and see him grow into a kind person.
However, besides emotional intelligence, it is essential to develop other skills in your child as well. Intellikit is a monthly activity box subscription that is based on the theory of multiple-intelligence and focuses on all-round development in kids. The activities, based on a unique theme each month, incorporate various types of play that ensure your child has fun while learning something new. Subscribe to Intellikit for a box of age-appropriate activities for your child, delivered to your doorstep each month!