Ensuring your child has strong emotional intelligence puts them on the pathway to better understanding empathy and appropriately expressing their feelings. By knowing how to boost your child’s emotional development, you give them the tools they need to go down this path. Why must individuals harness these skills at such a young age? Well, children experience as many emotional shifts as adults but don’t have the tools to understand them without guidance.
Teach Coping Skills
Before you get into keeping your child aware of emotions, teach them about their feelings by labeling each. If your child cannot get the toy they want at the store, talk to them about the anger or sadness they may feel. Likewise, express empathy when your child does this to ensure they feel validated.
Once your child has a basic understanding of their emotions, teach them how to cope with these complex feelings they’ll experience regularly. Consider teaching your little one to:
- Take deep breaths
- Refocus their attention
- Play a game
Explore various mechanisms—what works for one child won’t necessarily work for another. For example, some kids may benefit from crafting when they’re upset, but others may need to talk it out for positive affirmations. Keep your child’s needs in mind as you do this, as some children may communicate their emotions differently and will best benefit from different coping skills.
Another great way to bond with your kiddo and boost their emotional intelligence is by playing together; whether you pick up a board game or make up stories with their toys, play offers a child many benefits. By playing together, you create imaginary scenarios where you can explain various emotions.
For instance, you can explain empathy to your child through dolls or stuffed animals by having one feel sad when it gets excluded; then, ask your child how they’d feel in the situation. Playing together allows your child to develop these skills, understand emotion, and feel secure while doing so.
Read a Book
Lastly, start reading books together! Reading is a fun learning tool that allows a child to comprehend feelings while utilizing their imagination. Young children often have difficulty understanding situations they’re not currently in, but by reading about a character struggling, you open up a conversation.
Often, children’s books exist to teach a child a lesson in understandable language, so consider going to the library together and picking out a few books before snuggling up to enjoy them!
As you talk about the story or character, remind your child that expressing feelings is both normal and healthy; if they’re sad, they can say so, and you’ll be there to hug or otherwise comfort them. Knowing how to boost your child’s emotional development ensures your child has the mental toolbox they need to share and deal with their emotions appropriately.