Emotional intelligence is a set of skills related the the monitoring of one’s own and others’ emotions. Using this information one can use emotions to guide their thinking and actions.
Emotions affect our memory, attention, learning, emotional and physical health, as well as our ability to build healthy relationships. Emotional intelligence is tool which helps children manage their emotions. This can eliminate fits of blind rage or overwhelming frustration or sadness. Children with good emotional intelligence not only have healthier relationships, but are more empathetic.Five teachable skills that have been identified to increase emotional intelligence are:
1. Recognizing emotions in oneself and others
2. Understanding causes and consequences of emotions
3. Labeling your emotions accurately
4. Expressing your emotions appropriately (including time and place)
5. Regulating emotions
As parents, we tend to stick to the 3 basic emotions (happy, sad, angry). However, try teaching your child the differences between: angry and frustrated, sad, disappointed and upset, happy and excited, etc.You can start by pointing out your own emotions to your children, such as when you feel frustrated or overwhelmed. When your child is experiencing an emotion, label it. Try saying “I see you are upset that your toy broke” or “I see you’re disappointed because we cannot go the park today”.
Furthermore, normalize their feelings, try saying “It’s normal to feel frustrated when you don’t win”. You can also be empathetic, “Mommy sometimes feels upset when I can’t get my way too”.When someone else is experiencing an emotion, point it out. You could say “Look how sad Daddy is because you hit him” or “Did you see how happy you made your sister by sharing with her?”. Emotional intelligence is a skill that must be practiced and will develop over time. When reading with your child or watching TV you can even point out the feelings of characters.Storybook is also a great tool to teach emotional intelligence. We recommend the stories:
- Today Sadness Came to Visit me
- Fear: I’m not Afraid of You
- The Doubtful Circle
- Breathe with Me
Not only is teaching your child to recognize feelings important but how to manage them. Have you ever felt overwhelmed, what did you do? Take a deep breath, possibly?Deep breathing and meditation is linked to lowered rates of: stress, anxiety, depression, eating and behavior disorders. It can also increase sleep and attention. Children who practice deep breathing also show better emotional control. So, help your child take a deep breath and relax with new deep breathing stories from Storybook.Teach emotional intelligence alongside deep breathing. Both of which Storybook is here to help you with! Keep a look out for our Breathing Stories (coming soon…) and try the stories (see above) to get you started with emotional intelligence teaching with your little one.