Emotional Intelligence in Children: Six Steps for Healthy Development

Emotional Intelligence in Children: Six Steps for Healthy Development

Emotional intelligence plays a fundamental role in children's development and contributes to their overall comfort and success in life. Thanks to strong emotional intelligence, children are able to handle their emotions effectively and create healthy relations with others.

Emotional intelligence refers to the set of mental abilities that allow us to recognise and regulate our own emotions while also being able to motivate ourselves, understand the emotions of others, and improve our interpersonal relationships.

The development of emotional intelligence in children should begin at an early age and be fostered throughout their development.

Babies and toddlers (0 - 2 yrs.)

  • React to their emotions - It's important to learn to distinguish and react to the emotions of children. Shower them with love and care when they are happy and offer support when they feel sad or frightened.
  • Talk about their emotions - Even if the babies don't understand words yet, talking to them about their emotions is important. Explain to them why they are feeling happy or why they are crying.

Preschoolers (3 - 5 yrs.)

  • Identify emotions - Teaching children to identify and name their emotions is highly beneficial. Using simple words like happy, sad, and angry can help them name these emotions in the future.
  • Tell them stories about emotions - Read stories that focus on various emotions. This will help children understand that emotions are part of everyday life.

Grade schoolers (6 - 9 yrs.)

  • Support self-expression - Encourage them to express their emotions through different mediums, such as art, writing, or conversation. This can help them develop their communication skills and emotional intelligence.
  • Teach them to resolve conflicts - Help children learn to recognise and resolve conflicts with their peers. Teach them empathy and understanding.

Teens (10+ yrs.)

  • Encourage self-knowledge - Assist children in discovering their values, strengths, and areas of improvement. This approach will help them develop self-awareness.
  • Teach them to handle stress - Teaching children stress management tools, such as deep breathing and physical activity, is crucial for effectively handling tough situations.

How to support the emotional intelligence of your children?

  1. Create of safe environment

Emotional intelligence is best developed in a safe and supportive environment. Create a home where children can freely express their emotions and feelings without fear of being judged. Communicate with them with empathy and respect so they feel understood.

  1. Teach emotional literacy

Emotional literacy encompasses the ability to distinguish, understand and effectively communicate their emotions. Teach children to identify their emotions and their nomenclature. Support them to discuss their feelings and how to work with them correctly.

  1. Refinement of self-value and confidence

Strong emotional intelligence encompasses good self-confidence. Support children in their strengths and accomplishments and teach them to handle failure and mistakes. Help them to build a positive relationship with themselves and with others.

  1. Problem solving strategies 

Conflicts are an inseparable part of life; therefore, you should teach children to constructively and effectively solve problems. Assist them in expressing their feelings, listening to others, and finding standard solutions. This way will enable them to build healthy relationships with peers and other people.

  1. Empathy and understanding others

Support empathy development in children by teaching them to perceive and understand other people's emotions. Discuss various perspectives and encourage them to understand others. Empathy is a key to the creation of compassionate and supportive relationships.

  1. Model emotional intelligence

The most crucial factor in emotional intelligence development is to be an example for your children. Show them how to express emotions healthily, solve problems and build healthy relationships. Your behaviour will be the most important example for them.

Emotional intelligence is a fundamental element in every individual's life. It is an ability that is learnt and developed throughout our lifespan. Supporting the healthy development of emotional intelligence in children is a basis for their overall development and allows them to face challenges in life with more courage and understanding. Remember that the best gift we can offer our children is the ability to manage our emotions effectively and create healthy relationships with others.


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