Having a good set of exam results does open doors for many children but it is not the most important thing. Research shows that people high in emotional intelligence do better in the workplace and are happier in their romantic relationships. Some children are born better able to control their emotions than others but that does not mean that you can’t improve your child’s ability to manage their emotions.
So how can you teach your child emotional intelligence?
You can help your child to understand that the way they think about things can change the way they feel. For example, if your child comes home from school and says that George would not play with them today, you might ask them why they think this was. If they say, that they think it is because George doesn’t like them anymore, you can then ask them to think of other possible explanations for why George did not play with them. Parents who frequently ask children to think about what other people might be thinking are able to develop their children’s understanding of how thoughts affect emotions.
Teaching your child to recognise facial expressions and body language is also important so that they can work out what other people are feeling. You can show your child photos of people with different expressions and ask them to imagine what the people are thinking.
Children can also be taught relaxation techniques when they are feeling stressed or angry. You can teach them to lie down on their bed when they are angry and to count to ten or to take deep breaths and breathe out slowly. Another relaxation technique involves clenching all the muscles in the body and letting go. You can ask your child to focus on how their body feels after releasing their muscles.
As with most young children, my 4-year-old son can get quite agitated when he is tired. I have tried to get him to breathe in and out slowly to calm him down but he is not always willing to try this when he is in a bad mood. Taking him to his bed to lie down with his teddy for a few minutes seems to work best but this can only be done when we are at home. The best thing to do when we are out seem to be to get him to close his eyes and imagine he is lying down in bed with his teddy. I have started to read him the books, which explain about different emotions.
Learn more about teaching your children emotional intelligence, self-control and social skills in ‘Psychology for parents: Birth to teens’ . The e-book is on sale at Amazon, Smashwords.com, Barnes and Noble, Kobobooks and Apple ibookstore.
- Teaching Emotions and Emotional Regulation (engageadhd.org)
- Relaxation Techniques For Kids (ctworkingmoms.com)
- How To Handle Tantrums and Meltdowns Without Having One Yourself (connectedchildnow.wordpress.com)
- Three Easy Relaxation Techniques for Children with Anxiety (zoloftsideeffects.typepad.com)