Emotional education is key to the present and future well-being of the youngest . In recent decades, one concept has burst onto the scene in the field of psychology, both in the clinic, at work, in education and in sports, and that is emotional intelligence.
- Emotional intelligence has been shown to have many benefits, as explained in our article “The 10 benefits of emotional intelligence”
How to educate in emotional intelligence
In the following lines we propose a series of strategies and advice for emotional education in children.
1. Teach her that she can’t always have what she wants
One of the great conflicts that we human beings often encounter is learning to master our impulses. Emotional intelligence is key for us to learn how to manage them; however, first we need to be able to identify them.
That is why it is important to start teaching them from a young age that they cannot always have what they want . For example, whenever possible it is necessary to explain to them the consequences of their actions. With this type of action self-control is encouraged.
2. Letting her express emotions
Some adults believe that children are too young to understand certain things. But already at an early age we should trust our children and allow them to express themselves freely, also their emotions . If we give them a space of comfort so that they can trust us with their feelings we will be giving them a positive message that they can apply in other contexts, for example, school.
3. Creating a space for dialogue
Children do not need to be treated as adults, but it is necessary to encourage dialogue, to learn at an early age. This is important so that children grow up with the dialogue skills needed to become people who can negotiate and reach agreements with others. In the adult world, interpersonal relationships are important to achieve mental and emotional well-being .
4. Working on empathy
Empathy, i.e. putting oneself in the other’s place, is also one of the most important elements of emotional intelligence and should therefore be taught when children are young. This is also important to ensure that the previous point is carried out, because in this way they will be able to agree and agree in a democratic way. Empathy is key for them to put aside their self-centeredness.
5. Teach him to be self-motivated
Self-motivation is also essential in emotional intelligence, but it is common for many people to become pessimistic in the face of failure. Making them understand that failures are opportunities to grow and encouraging them in this sense at an early age is essential for them to become optimistic.
6. Use the example
Sometimes it is easy to tell others what we have to do, but especially when it comes to educating a child, we must be a good example for him or her . This is a fundamental point, because parents are role models for their children, something we should not forget. This is another of the practical keys to emotional education.
7. That they learn active listening
Listening is not the same as hearing . We can hear what someone is saying to us but be thinking about our turn to talk without the other person having finished theirs, or we can listen with all five senses, that is, active listening. When someone communicates with us, they are not only expressing what they are saying in words, but also speaking their non-verbal language and their emotions. Paying attention to this is key to communicating fully with other individuals.
- If you want to teach a child how to develop active listening, you can read our article “Active listening: the key to communicating with others”
8. Give him examples of how to solve his problems
Developing problem solving skills is necessary to adapt to the changing environment in which we find ourselves . Not only children, but adults are also overcome by negative emotions. If we give children examples, it is easier for them to learn to manage their emotions and the conflicts that surround them.
9. Emotional self-knowledge
The first step in becoming an emotionally intelligent person is to know one’s emotions and to label them . To do this, it is possible to do different exercises, such as the emotional diary. In which they can write down how they have felt throughout the day and thus reflect on the experience. It is important that the
The use of stories is an ideal alternative for children to increase their emotional intelligence, something that will positively influence their well-being. There are different stories on the market for children to develop emotional intelligence . Adults, on the other hand, can read some of the books listed in our article “10 books on emotional intelligence that you need to read”.
Books are an interesting strategy for educating children emotionally; however, another educational resource in this sense is to use audiovisual content, which is both entertaining and formative.
Recommended article: “15 movies about emotional intelligence you should see”
12. Congratulate him and highlight the positive aspects of his learning
Positive reinforcement is one of the most common forms of teaching , but it is also highly effective, especially at these ages. As long as the child does something right that is related to emotional education, you can reinforce his action, so that he understands that what he has done is right and reflects on it.
Many experts consider that emotional education should be compulsory in schools , since emotions are an important part of our lives and affect our behaviour and our emotional state. If you want to know some practical activities to educate the youngest ones emotionally, in our article “8 activities to work on emotions” you can find a great selection of exercises.