As adults, emotions tend to often drive the perspective of our day. It is the same case for children. The only difference is that young children are learning how to process them.
Emotional intelligence is the understanding of how to interpret and express emotions.
When we foster emotional intelligence in young children, they will be better communicators and have an overall greater sense of self-awareness.
Fostering emotional intelligence in a young child will also help him/her to build empathy: the ability to understand the emotions of another person, especially when those emotions differ from one’s own. Empathy leads to prosocial behavior: feeling and acting in ways that are helpful and kind, without obvious benefit to oneself. (The Developing Person)
As a parent, my biggest goal in life is to raise kind and compassionate human beings.
Yes, I want my children to succeed and flourish in life, but I also need to raise boys who are caring individuals that empathize with others.
YOU ARE YOUR CHILD’S EMOTIONAL COACH.
- You are responsible for helping your child talk about their feelings and to feel understood.
- Help your child learn to label their emotions with words.
- Listen with empathy and validate what your child is feeling.
- Be aware of your child’s emotions.
Describe your OWN emotions daily while labeling them for your child.
Use moments of sadness, frustrations, disappointments, happiness, excitement, and even anger as a teachable tool for emotional awareness between you and your child.
Here are some simple examples.
“Mommy was excited to come to the zoo! I love spending time with you!”
“Mommy was also sad because the fish died. I understand how you are feeling. I will miss seeing it swim around everyday.”
” I talked to you about how important this phone call to the doctor was. I asked you to please play quietly for a few minutes and you did not follow directions. How do you think this made mommy feel?”
“Mommy feels so special and loved when you give me those wonderful BIG BEAR HUGS! How do you feel when I give you hugs?
“Mommy was so proud of how you shared your sand toys with the little boy at the park. How do you think he felt when you shared your toys?
That little girl is sitting all alone on the bench while all of you are having fun playing together. How do you think she feels? You should invite her to play!
The younger we teach, model and talk about emotions to our children, the better understanding of empathy they will have.
Now, lets talk about a book that I absolutely love plus highly recommend. It is a great tool for introducing emotions to babies and toddlers.
The large, vivid artwork will capture our little ones attention, while the few words keeps it simple to understand.
My youngest loves this book!
This simple book conveys a powerful message of unconditional love. It helps teach our little ones not only the concept of emotions, but how we ultimately love them through it all.
“I love you through and through…
yesterday, today, and tomorrow too.”
Do you think emotional intelligence is more important then learning the ABC’s and 123’s?
Always remember that YOUR CHILD is a potential treasure to this world. Inside of him/her lies a tremendous gift. Help, guide, encourage and support him/her to unlock those gifts of empathy and prosocial behavior.
It is only by lifting others, that we can rise together.