Emotional intelligence is a term that describes the ability to identify, regulate, and express emotions in a healthy way. Kids don’t know how to do this naturally. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of parents to teach children how to understand their feelings, both big and small.
Parents need to prepare their children to navigate the world. Otherwise, they can harm themselves and others with uncontrollable feelings and actions. Give your little ones the tools to succeed with these tips for raising emotionally intelligent kids.
Don’t Speak Poorly About Your Partner
Grown-ups aren’t immune to negative emotions, especially when it comes to their partners. However, you should never speak poorly about your significant other to your children—these are adult problems that kids have nothing to do with.
This is especially true for estranged or divorced parents. Your kids learn how to speak and treat others by watching how their parents talk to each other. In order to be engaged and supportive fathers and mothers, you must treat your partner with respect, no matter your relationship status.
Encourage Open and Honest Communication
If you want to raise emotionally intelligent kids, they need to feel comfortable talking about their emotions. Too many times, children bottle up their feelings because they don’t feel safe communicating them. Parents should be their children’s safe spaces; if they aren’t comfortable expressing themselves around you, then who?
Encourage open and honest communication by listening more than speaking. Don’t tell your kids how they SHOULD feel; instead, ask them how they DO feel. You should also be open and honest about your own feelings. Doing so in an age-appropriate way gives children a healthy example to model in the future.
Use Negative Emotions to Problem-Solve
Believe it or not, all emotions are valuable, even negative ones! It’s unrealistic to expect kids to be happy all the time. Negative emotions are good tools to teach problem-solving and self-regulation skills.
You can reduce tantrums and violent behavior by teaching your child to work through big emotions. What’s making them feel that way? What can you do to work through the feelings together? If you want to help your child understand their emotions, educational toys are a great investment as they give kids a way to reenact their feelings and learn empathy.
We do our children a huge disservice when we send them into the world without emotional intelligence. It’s never too early to start; teach them about their feeling when they’re small so they have years to practice and master emotional skills.