Raising Human Beings Who Care
The work of raising kind, loving, and caring human beings doesn’t happen by accident. I think it’s safe to say, our goal as parents is to help our kids prepare to function in the world making a positive impact around them as they grow up.
Giving our kids the tools to develop emotional intelligence will allow them to be able to navigate their world with empathy, confidence, and the ability to build valuable relationships.
5 Ways to Build Emotional Intelligence at Home
#1 Identify Emotions
You can help your child by identifying the emotions that they are feeling. You can talk about the different emotions and giving them a name anger, sad, mad, happy, excited, etc. Help your kids understand the emotions by describing them and then acting out different emotions. Let your kids draw pictures of different emotions, and use those emotion cards to label how they are feeling.
#2 Talk About Your Own Emotions
This is a great way to model for your kids how to handle emotions. Allow your child to watch and listen to you go through emotions and how you work through your emotions. Acknowledge your own trigger points and talk about how you “get over” your big emotions like anger. It’s important to show how your feelings can affect other people’s emotions. This can be difficult to do especially if your child has sparked your negative emotions. Be careful during this time to take ownership of your own emotions, despite what your child may have done.
#3 Teach Coping Skills
Teach your child how to cope with different emotions. The more coping skills your child has in their “toolbox” the better they will be able to handle particularly emotional situations. Try these coping skills:
- Meditation/Quiet Time
- Do the opposite of your feeling EX: If you are worried, think of something funny. Look at a joke book.
- Try a distraction EX: puzzles, books, music, crafts, drawing
- Find ways to self soothe
#4 Serve Others
Nothing helps to develop emotional intelligence more than taking action! Serving others in need helps other people, gives your kids a new perspective, and let’s them put empathy into practice. You can find ways to serve your neighbors, elderly people in your community, through your church, or other community organizations.
Helping others can be as simple as creating cards, taking dinner to a family, or working at a local food pantry. It’s never too early to start serving others as a family.
#5 Help Your Child Learn to Problem Solve
Problem solving is a great tool to help your child overcome BIG feelings. Help your child identify their emotions, and think of a way to solve the feelings that are causing their problem. You can practice problem solving by simply playing with your kids whether it’s pretend, a game of hide and seek, or a board game.
When you play along side your kids you are giving them the chance to practice social skills and problem solve while spending precious time with them.
Building emotional intelligence as a young child will help prepare them for the future. A strong leader, a successful employee, needs to have the ability to connect with others emotionally. Developing emotional intelligence will allow your child to develop strong relationships now and in the future.