In recent years, the term EQ, also known as emotional quotient or emotional intelligence, has become an ever-present part of conversations about parenting and raising children. As more and more parents realize the importance of raising resilient and well-rounded children, less focus has been put on increasing a child’s IQ, but also on making sure he has high EQ.
EQ is usually identified by four attributes: self-management, self-awareness, social awareness and relationship management. In a nutshell, EQ is being able to recognize your own feelings, express them in an appropriate manner, have empathy for others, and develop and maintain good relationships through clear communication. Studies have shown that having high EQ is a better indicator of success as an adult compared to having high IQ.
So, how can we help raise our child’s EQ? Here are a few tips:
Remember that children learn about EQ through observation
Parents are truly the first role models and teachers of their children. Even if you don’t notice it, your children are constantly watching, observing, and absorbing your every move. We want to make sure that we model correct behaviours when it comes to having high EQ. One good way is by showing them how to express feelings using words instead of actions – “I’m really angry that the car beside us almost hit us!” Modelling appropriate words and behaviours to describe how you feel helps your child learn how to express his own feelings in a healthy manner.
Regulate the emotional climate of your home
We want our children to feel that they can express their true selves and feelings at home. As parents, there’s a tendency for us to correct and cut off our children when we don’t understand why they are feeling a certain way, or even just when we’re tired from a long day. “Why are you crying? You just dropped your toy. It’s nothing to cry about!” This makes your child feel like his emotions aren’t valid. Yes, it’s hard to be conscious of what we say and do all the time towards our kids, but we want our children to feel a sense of belongingness at home and feel secure in their own feelings, no matter what these feelings are.
Parents can consciously teach, support, and scaffold their kids EQ
Be aware of situations where you can directly talk about emotions, feelings, and empathy with your children. For example, during school pick up and you see that one of your child’s classmates is crying, you can ask questions such as, “Why do you think he is crying?” “How do you think he feels?” “How can we help him feel better?” Watching videos can also help teach children EQ. One great example is the Daniel Tiger series. This is especially helpful for young children who are just starting to recognize their own feelings and how to express them. Another specific way of teaching empathy is telling your kids about people helping and caring about others, even a simple story about your neighbour helping you out with carrying your groceries will be effective and make a lasting impression.
We hope these simple tips can help you become more aware of your impact on your child’s EQ. Raising a happy, healthy child should be one of our top priorities and helping them be more emotionally intelligent is definitely a step in the right direction.