Steps to Nurture Emotional Intelligence in Your Child
It’s clear that having a high level of emotional intelligence (EI) helps a child develop into a responsible, productive and happy adult. Some studies show that having a high EI is more important than even a super high IQ in terms of having a successful life.
Here are seven ways that you can nurture your child’s EI.
- Allow Your Child Free Expression - Children who have a high EI are raised in households where they are free to have their own thoughts, feelings, and observations and aren’t told they are wrong without solid scientific proof. And that proof is offered in a non-judgmental way without discarding the child’s feelings.
- Seek to Be Reasonable and Fair- Allow your child or children input in the household rules and dynamics. Remember that fair isn’t always completely equal and that sometimes someone will need more attention than another child and it’s up to the parent to explain this to the child -again acknowledging the child’s feelings about it.
- Demonstrate Healthy Communication - Children watch everything a parent does, so it’s important that the parents demonstrate what healthy communication looks like. Not only should parents carefully listen to and respond to each other, they should show the same respect to their children. Treat children as real people, and they will grow up feeling important.
- Develop Reasonable Household Rules - When children are young, you can make rules such as cleaning up the bedroom right before going to sleep at night, and as they are older you can develop other rules that feel just like patterns of behavior. We brush our teeth before bed, we clean up our toys before bed, and we do our homework after dinner.
- Always Be Nurturing and Supportive - Even when a child fails at a goal, or expresses emotions or beliefs that you do not agree with, it’s important to be nurturing and supportive of them. You can even disagree with your child while also being supportive. It’s a good way to teach children that it’s okay to feel differently than other people and have their own views about life. This is a good way to teach empathy.
- Demonstrate Healthy Boundaries - Children who understand healthy boundaries learn it from the example their parents set. A lot of this learned behavior happens between the parents of the child and the parents and friends of the parents. The child observes how mom and dad interact with others, how they help others, how they let other people treat them, and then often the child will emulate what their parents demonstrate.
- Model Problem Solving Skills - Parents of children with high EI don’t hide issues from their children such as job problems, financial problems, and even fights. They instead demonstrate good problem solving skills to their children. Of course good parents don’t frighten their children with too much information, but they show children that bills have to be paid, arguments have to be settled, and they all need to be done in a healthy manner.
As you see, the best way you can nurture emotional intelligence in your child is to demonstrate EI on your own. Children learn what they live, and live what they learn.
All the best.