How Parents Can Help Teach Their Child Emotional Intelligence.
Although our school uses emotional intelligence curriculum in the classroom, parents are in the best position to teach and enhance a child's innate emotional intelligence. Here are a few suggestions for what you can do to help.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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."
4. Teach empathy. Talk about compassion and empathy for others' feelings, and model it yourself in your interactions with others.
5. 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.
6. 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 electricity bill like you said you would."
Emotional intelligence is a skill that your child can develop over time as he or she interacts with you and the world. Teach empathy and model your own emotional intelligence to give your child the best start possible.