As parents, we make sure that we send our children to the best schools, learn the best of math and science but somehow, end up neglecting on their emotional development. We tend to think that children do not understand or feel as much as adults do but the truth is that children can absorb everything. Which is why it is extremely important to develop emotional intelligence in children.
A University College London study in 2017 reveals that emotional intelligence ranks first in the list of essentials required for leading a happy life and having a good, determined career (Source: globalnews.ca).
Developing emotional intelligence in children is all about equipping them with the ability to understand their mental health, have empathy, build strong relationships and have qualities like optimism and determination. So how can parents help children develop their emotional intelligence? Here are a few ways-
Listen to what they are saying-
It is extremely important to hear children out. It is when you do this carefully that you realize the actual thought process of your child and where it needs to be corrected or appreciated. Plus, you don’t want your child to feel ignored or left out as this could create a turmoil of negative emotions in them. Also, in situations where your child is upset and you cannot do much, just being around can help. A lot of troubling emotions go away when you have a loved one empathising with you. Be that support to your children.
Teach them to empathise-
Children learn so much from their parents. When you empathise with them, it becomes easier for them to empathise with others. The process of making your children more understanding and acceptive of different perspectives starts from you.
When your children get angry or are scared of anything, don’t let them repress it. Emotions like anger, frustration and fear need to be addressed and not ignored or denied. If done so, your children start feeling shameful of feeling the way they feel, which is definitely not good. Feelings that are talked about or addressed freely easily fade away, while the ones that are repressed don’t. They continue to exist and come out subconsciously (often in worse forms). Understand that when you make your child feel that you can accept their emotions, it becomes easier for them to accept them for themselves.
Let them make mistakes-
Experience is the best teacher and sometimes, you need to allow your children to learn for themselves. Let them make mistakes and make sure that they get the autonomy to choose what they want. This way they learn emotions like responsibility, confidence etc. Let them understand for themselves the cause and effects of the decisions that they make.
Teach children to manage their emotions-
When children feel different types of emotions and don’t know how to let them out, they can get frustrated or confused. To help them manage their emotions, you can start by talking about yours. Tell them that you are not as sorted as you come out to be and sometimes feel frustrated yourself and there is nothing wrong in that. Tell them that feeling in a particular way is not wrong but addressing why you are feeling in that particular way definitely is.
Everything else in between-
It is important for children to know what exactly they are feeling. Tell them what feelings like impatience, annoyance, gratitude or nervousness are and help them address all. Make sure that you teach them positive feelings like optimism, determination and confidence too.
To address emotional intelligence in children, PICT Model School stresses extensively on metacognition which helps them introspect, analyze and keep a track of their own progress. We make sure that the students at PICT are emotionally and critically intelligent.