This week at Little Lambs, we have been learning about all the different emotions we can have and how to deal with them. We have also been discussing empathy and learning how to deal with other people’s emotions. Gaining emotional intelligence and understanding begins at this young age. Today, I would like to share with you some information about emotional intelligence and some things you can do at home to help your child develop this important skill.
1. Using emotions effectively. Emotionally intelligent people use their emotions to help them think and problem solve in school and at work.
2. Identifying emotions properly. Emotionally intelligent people are able to accurately identify the feelings of themselves and others, which means they can read situations and relationships.
3. Regulating emotions skillfully. Emotionally intelligent people can harness their own emotions, and also use their empathetic responses to other people in helpful ways.
Importance of Emotional Intelligence
1.Academic success. Children with higher emotional intelligence perform better in school, as a whole, than their peers with lower scores.
2. Academic retention. Children with higher emotional intelligence are less likely to drop out of high school or college than children with lower emotional intelligence scores.
3. Increased pro-social behavior. Children with higher emotional intelligence tend to be more adept at navigating relationships, cooperating and responding compassionately and appropriately with friends, at home and at school.
Things You Can Do at Home!
~ Accurately name your own emotions. Children learn by watching you. If you're sad and crying, or angry, take some time to name those emotions out loud with your child so he or she can learn to identify what you're feeling.
~ Use a rich vocabulary. Emotions aren't just "happy" or "sad." Sometimes, emotions are extremely complex, and a rich vocabulary of feeling words can help unfold the complexity of the emotions. Use many different words to describe feelings in your home, so your child can learn about the complexity of feelings.
~ Validate your child's feelings. If your child is having a complete meltdown, take some time to validate his or her feelings, even if you don't give in to them. Instead of ignoring a tantrum, say, "I know how frustrated you are that we can't go to the park right now, and it's completely reasonable to feel that way."
~ Teach empathy. Talk about compassion and empathy for others' feelings, and model it yourself in your interactions with others.
~ Understand different viewpoints. If your child comes home from school feeling angry with his friend about a disagreement, take the time to talk through the disagreement and help your child understand his friend's different point of view.
~ Model effective communication. As your child gets older, use effective communication as you navigate your own relationships. Blowing up at your husband and leaving the house won't do it. Instead, use feeling phrases like, "I feel angry with you, and scared about the consequences for our family, when you don't follow through with paying the electric bill like you said you would."
Take time each day to help your child become emotionally smart!