Emotional intelligence has a decisive influence on our lives. E teaching a child emotional intelligence correctly can bring future benefits in many areas of their life: personal well-being, academic environment, work, interpersonal relationships, etc.

Emotional intelligence and future well-being

The ability to handle one’s own and other people’s feelings is the basis of emotional intelligence, an important tool that can be learned from childhood. It has always been thought that IQ was a predictor of success in life, but studies have shown that the skills and abilities needed to lead a successful life are different , and IQ alone cannot predict the correct personal development.

People with a high ability in emotional intelligence are happier, more creative, make better decisions, are spontaneous and know and express their own emotions better .

But, how can a child be educated in emotional intelligence? Although educating a child in emotional intelligence is a task for both parents and teachers, if you are a parent, here are some tips for you to help your child know and regulate his or her own emotions better, and so that he or she can improve his or her interpersonal relationships in the future.

Tips for Nurturing Your Child with Emotional Intelligence

1. Recognize your child’s perspective and empathize with him or her

Even though sometimes you can’t do anything to make your child not feel sad one day, empathize with him . Being understood helps human beings to accept negative emotions. If your child’s emotional response seems disproportionate to the situation, understand that everyone lives life in their own way and, in many cases, it is necessary to experience pain in order to continue growing.

But empathizing doesn’t mean you have to agree, it means you understand their point of view. Feeling that someone understands our point of view can help us get through a bad time instead of being stuck in a negative experience. Children learn empathy through experience, and since you can be a good role model for them, teach them to empathize and let them know that you understand their point of view.

You may be interested in: “10 strategies to improve your child’s self-esteem”

2.Let it express itself

Accept your child’s emotions instead of minimizing or rejecting them, otherwise you give him/her the message that some emotions are unacceptable and shameful.

Not approving or validating his negative emotions (e.g. his anger) will not cause him to stop feeling those emotions, and may cause him emotional repression .

The repression of emotions causes them not to disappear, as they need to express themselves, even without control. Instead, teach him the great variety of emotions that exist and help him accept that they are part of the human condition. This does not mean that to live in harmony with other individuals it is necessary to control some emotions (control is knowing the meaning of the emotion). If you accept his emotions you teach him that emotional life is not dangerous, but that it is universal and manageable. This is beneficial because it helps him to accept himself as he is.

3.Actively listen to your child

Active listening is about listening to children trying to understand what they are saying and what they are feeling. In other words, the emotional component (feelings, emotions, sensations, etc) is addressed first, before the rational component (ideas, beliefs, knowledge, etc).

Pay attention to what your child is trying to tell you when he confesses his thoughts and emotions to you , and then let him know that you have understood him. For example, if you suspect that your child may be hurt because you have spent a lot of time with a new child, invite him/her to open his/her heart to you and tell you about it. Then you can use examples from your own life to show that you understand. This can help him understand that we all feel pleasant emotions and painful emotions.

4.Teach him to solve problems

Since emotions are messages with a meaning, teach your child to understand them , feel them and tolerate them without acting on them, thus reducing their intensity. Once these have been accepted, he can move on to problem solving.

When emotions are accepted, their level of intensity drops and the mind is better able to solve problems. Teach him to be patient, to understand and regulate his own emotions. In this way, he will improve his emotional self-control.

Studies in this field have shown that empathy is not enough to teach you how to manage your own emotions, because for emotional control it is necessary to master other emotional intelligence skills . Teach your child to identify, label, understand and regulate emotions, because it will favour empowerment in his life, and will give him the opportunity to solve the problems that may arise in his daily life.

5. Play at being emotionally intelligent

Through play children learn skills , and this is a basic element in the life of a child, which in addition to being fun is necessary for their development. Play can bring many benefits, not only on a psychomotor level, but it can also help you to better understand your emotions.

Therefore, the game is useful to help experience emotions such as surprise, expectation, uncertainty or joy ; and it can favour the development of emotional conflict resolution skills (personal and interpersonal).

In this video you can see an example of the importance of play to help develop emotional intelligence.