In recent years, there has been an increasing interest and emphasis on ‘emotional intelligence’ in parenting, psychology, and education. Emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) is a person’s ability to identify, evaluate, control, and express emotions. Emotional intelligence is what allows us to communicate with others, negotiate, and develop and articulate our thought processes.
IQ measures a person’s academic intelligence and EQ measures emotional intelligence. “85% of financial success is due to skills in [social intelligence] including your personality, ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. And only 15% is due to ‘technical knowledge,” writes Keld Jensen, former chairman of the Centre for Negotiation at Copenhagen Business School, in Forbes.
By helping our children foster their EQ, we are setting them up for success. Not only will they be more likely to communicate well, they will be leaders in their field and even have the potential to earn more money, according to Dr. Travis Bradberry.
Why do we need to teach emotional intelligence in schools?
The traditional education system has always emphasized IQ, but with increasing research and studies on the importance and value of EQ, more schools are incorporating emotional intelligence into their curriculum. Teaching children to exercise their emotional intelligence has too many proven benefits to ignore, for both children and schools.
Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions
Labeling emotions accurately
Expressing emotions appropriately and
Regulating emotions effectively
The program has been shown to boost student’s emotional intelligence and social skills, productivity, academic performance, leadership skills and attention, while reducing anxiety, depression, and instances of bullying.
Higher EQs benefit children and schools. Studies have found that a mindfulness practice can help reduce stress, depression, and anxiety while improving concentration in children. It can even increase grey matter density. Grey matter includes regions of the brain involved in memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control.
Many schools have found that incorporating yoga, which can increase mindfulness, helped improve student’s emotional regulation capacity. Watch the video below to see one school’s fascinating success story:
How can I teach my child emotional intelligence?
While some schools are familiar with the latest research regarding EQ, the majority of schools and education systems are still in the dark. Don’t let that discourage you from teaching your child how to exercise emotional intelligence at home.
As parents, we are from a generation that didn’t grow up with the concept of EQ. When we don’t have a healthy way of handling emotions ourselves, we experience difficulty when teaching our kids how to hand theirs. Emotional intelligence can be taught and learned at any age. If EQ is an area you believe you struggle with, you and your child can learn together. These tips for your child can also be modified to teach yourself:
Help your child identify their emotions. Ask them how they feel when they are sad, angry, happy, or excited. Once your child names the emotion, they can begin to take ownership of their response to those feelings. This practice will get your child in the habit of being mindful of how they feel and the sources of those emotions.
Discuss your emotions with your child. Our children are usually aware when we’re angry or frustrated. This is why it’s important to talk about the good emotions too. If you’re having a great day, tell them you are happy and why. If you’re excited about going on date with mummy or daddy, tell them why and how that makes you feel. This will help them learn to be mindful of other’s emotions and understand how other people’s emotions also impact theirs.
Identify the mood in various locations. The mood changes within your home on a daily basis: hectic mornings, quiet evenings. Moods also vary from place to place (the grocery store versus the park) or with the weather (a sunny day versus a rainy day). Different people also feel differently in each of these scenarios. Some people feel a little tired and sad on a rainy day while others enjoy the opportunity to enjoy a quiet day indoors. Creating a dialogue and bringing awareness to how others experience different situations builds the foundation for empathy.
Nurturing your child’s emotional intelligence has the potential to help them become a great leader, contribute to a team environment, and develop healthy, connected relationships as children and later as adults.