Emotional Intelligence is a set of skills that help your child to be able to recognize emotions and be able to handle them well. It does not mean that the child should never feel upset or frustrated or that you should try to impose the idea of constant happiness. It is about recognizing and expressing emotions in a manageable manner. A few examples can be that instead of getting frustrated and giving up on something, the child can tell that they are frustrated and think of something that can make them feel better.
Emotional Intelligence cannot be measured like measuring Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Yet being emotionally intelligent is crucial in helping children and adults to respond to situations well. It also helps to make positive connections with the people.
Emotional Intelligence is like a tool that can help children navigate their way around obstacles. They can evaluate and size up situations and think about ways to work around them.
For instance, there are multiple ways a child struggling with something can behave.
- Gets frustrated
- Yells and throws a tantrum
- Explains how they feel
- Asks for help
Can you notice how the last two techniques seem well thought out? Children ought to get restless and be frustrated. As a parent, we can help them move through these feelings not to hinder their functioning. Here are some ways to do that-
Accept your child's emotions. Denying, minimizing, or ridiculing them does not affect anybody. It sends out a wrong message to children that some feelings are wrong or unacceptable.
When a child is angry or sad, disapproving of those feelings does not stop them from having those feelings. But it can become a reason why they are suppressing it. And these repressed and suppressed feelings don't go away; they resurface later as a nervous tic or nightmares. This is why teaching children about the broad range of emotions is essential. We need to tell them that the feelings are understandable and relatable.
Encourage children to express their emotions in words. Tell them to let you know when they are angry, instead of breaking a toy.
Acknowledge and empathize with your child's perspective-
You cannot control your child's upsets. But you can empathize with them. Making a child feel understood is necessary, rather than making them feel awkward about it. Can you relate to the times when you have had troubling emotions, but you cannot let them out or release them immediately because you are in an uncomfortable environment? Imagine that environment being your own home! Thus, making your child feel that home is safe to express emotions can help them move on.
Tell your child that they are entitled to have their perspective. For example, "I know you are disappointed that it is raining, but going to play right now might not be the best idea; why don't we wait it out a bit?"
Get a toy-
Smart toys that can communicate with children are often a safe space for the child to express. The toy can also be programmed to educate a variety of subjects, including emotions. ROYBI Robot can even detect the presence of your child in the room and strike a conversation. Having a buddy like ROYBI can give children a feeling of safety while expressing feelings.
Play the "question game"-
This involves asking questions about different scenarios that the child might encounter. It doesn't always have to be realistic. But what's important is that it challenges the child to make a decision and take action. The question can be as follows - "what would you do if we are out on the streets and it starts raining suddenly?" Or "what if you come home to find guests at home? How would you want to react?"
This holds two benefits, firstly it gives them a chance to prepare mentally for many situations, and then it also gives them an idea that they have the liberty to act as they choose. Make sure to play the game when the child is not overwhelmed with emotions, so their thought channels are clear and unbiased.
Give them a chance to Do- over-
Even as adults, we sometimes go off limits with our emotions. Yelling and anger might not be well controlled by adults and children alike.
That's why it is crucial to adopt a rule in the family that everyone gets a chance to Do- over. As a parent, you can say things like, "I know I was a little aggressive and mean then; here's what I wanted to say." Do-overs can help the whole family cut some slack for each other and be kinder to each other.