Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children
If you grew up anywhere near Ramsey, New Jersey, you probably went to Mrs. Judy’s preschool. Judy is a proud mother of three – including my husband, one of the most emotionally intelligent adults I’ve ever met (check out the lyrics he writes for his band, The Lumineers!)
I sat down with Mrs. Judy to find out what it takes to raise emotionally intelligent children, and she suggests there are three important skills to build.
- Identifying feelings Help children identify feelings by discussing emotions when they occur. If a child is angry you could say, “I see you are angry. You have your arms crossed and are stomping your feet.” or “You feel angry because you want to stay up later like the big kids, I know.” Allowing expression doesn’t mean that you agree with their actions, just that you see it from their side, too. For example, “You seem worried about the field trip today. I used to get nervous on field trips too, in kindergarten. Want to tell me about it?”
- Empathy Help them identify feelings in others. For example, “She fell down, how do you think she feels? Using story books to discuss how characters might be feeling is a great way to foster empathy. Ask about the characters facial expressions and body language in response to the circumstances, and discuss what they see.
- Problem Solve Teach your child to feel emotions, and process them without needing to act them out. Once they are out of the grip of a strong emotion, problem-solve to create an outcome they are empowered by. For example, “You’re so disappointed that David can’t come over because he has soccer practice. You were really looking forward to playing with him. When you’re ready, maybe we can come up with ideas of something else to do that sounds like fun.” Or, “You’re pretty frustrated with Jessica for not giving you a turn. I can see sometimes you feel like not playing with her, but you also really like playing with her. I wonder what you could say to Jessica, so that she could know how you feel?”
Would you like to find a private educator or nanny to teach your child emotional intelligence? Contact us!