Children who can successfully interpret emotional signals when connecting are on a positive track to building and maintaining positive relationships with others. For us all, being able to recognise and understand their own and emotions of others is one of the main features of emotional intelligence and an important part of a child’s social-emotional development.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Simply said, emotional literacy or emotional intelligence (EQ or EI) means being smart about emotions. If your child has a highly developed emotional intelligence, they will understand what they feel, why they feel that way, how to respond to these feelings and how their feelings affect others. Also, high EQ allows your child to successfully “read” other people’s emotions and then react to them appropriately.
Emotional intelligence involves five basic skills: emotional awareness, self-management, self-motivation, social skills, and empathy.
Emotional awareness means recognising and acknowledging emotions you are experiencing. It also involves sensing other people’s emotions.
Self-management involves the ability to manage and regulate your emotions, connecting them together and then applying them to different tasks such as creative thinking or problem-solving.
Self-motivation represents the ability to motivate yourself to act towards finding a solution and reaching your goals.
Social skills include your ability to understand verbal communication, body language and gestures. Also, social competence means being able to cultivate and maintain a network of relationships, de-escalate conflicts and offer solutions, initiate new ideas, and be a leader.
Empathy refers to the ability to sense and understand other people’s emotions and use that understanding to enhance communication.
Why Is EQ Important?
According to EQ experts (Corus et al 2012), emotional intelligence is more important than IQ and that is why employers are now turning towards testing a persons EQ as much as their mathematical abilities. They argue that EQ is a better predictor of a person’s personal and professional success, the quality of one’s relationships, and life satisfaction in general. Experts have even gone as far to say that success in the workplace can be broken down as 80% effectiveness in EQ to 20% in IQ and a great way to boost your child’s emotional intelligence is by developing their emotional language.
What is Emotional Vocabulary?
An emotional vocabulary comprises all the words your child uses to express their feelings and experiences. Even before they start talking, babies and toddlers use emotional language. They use body language, cry, smile and laugh to express their feelings and needs.
Children deal with the same emotions adults do. However, they often lack the vocabulary to show how they are feeling. This can lead them to expressing their emotions in inappropriate and unconstructive ways instead. Teaching your child to recognise and express anger, sadness, frustration, happiness, embarrassment, and other emotions are critical for their EQ and overall development.
How to Enhance Your Child’s Emotional Literacy?
You can help your children build their emotional vocabulary. The following strategies can be helpful in teaching your children how to identify and express their feelings.
- Give the Feelings Names
By naming and labeling feelings and encouraging children to talk about how they are feeling, you are helping them understand their emotions and develop a vocabulary for communicating their delicate inner world. Explain emotions using words and expressions your child can understand. Be creative and use visuals or pictures, and other visual materials to make learning easier.
- Talk about Your Feelings
Talk with your kids about different ways you deal with your feelings and experiences. You can, for example, say, “When I feel sad, I cry. That helps me feel better.” Teach them different ways they can respond to specific emotions or conflicts.
Also, allow your child to come up with the different ways to manage their own feelings. Discuss positive ways to express feelings and ways that may not support them as positively. Always relate what you are talking about to your child’s real-life situations.
- Encourage Emotional Regulation
Relate to a situation when your child (or someone else) inappropriately expressed their feelings and ask your child about other possible ways to respond in similar situations. Teach them strategies such as deep breathing or mindfulness to promote emotional regulation.
Another was Ordinary Magic helps children to understand their emotions and regulating them is by talking about feelings as an energy. If a child talks about feeling angry for example, we may discuss what that energy feels like inside them, asking them where it is, what colour it is and then we work with them by supporting their creative problem solving abilities by asking them of positive ways to release it from their body. Doing this helps children develop a toolkit of strategies to help manage overwhelming experiences.
Understanding and managing emotions is an important part of your child’s development and well-being – being able to understand and harness your own emotions and the emotions of other is the hallmark of successful relationships and success in life. If you would like any more information, advice and guidance with this, as always please do not hesitate to contact us over at Ordinary Magic’s Facebook page or via our website.
Thanks for reading xxx