Today there is a lot of talk about the importance of educating the little ones in emotional intelligence. However, do we really understand what this is referring to or do we just have a vague and general idea?
When educating children it is important to be well informed and, above all, to maintain a critical attitude and be ready to make improvements when necessary. After all, education involves a long journey and you cannot always keep the same line.
Next we will delve into 3 keys to educate in emotional intelligence and other aspects of interest that are worth reflecting on.
About emotional intelligence
Although most of us know the concepts that define emotional intelligence thanks to Daniel Goleman, the approach already existed in the 1940s.
Authors such as Edward L. Thorndike or David Wechsler realized that intelligence was more than just our ability to reason or retain. Much more than the area of mathematics or the area of language.
There are psychological dimensions in a person that cannot be measured in a test, and that, however, can become much more important in everyday life.
Knowing how to manage our anger, understand our sadness, connect better with those around us to establish more effective, fuller, happier relationships … All of this configures what we know as: emotional intelligence.
It would undoubtedly be very successful if all educational curricula had in their programs mechanisms to teach children to be emotionally competent.
Until that happens, until emotional intelligence is as important as mathematics, it is worth it that, at home, we teach children how this art works, this behavior, this wisdom of the heart that we should all practice.
Here we offer you 3 wonderful keys for you to put into practice with your children.
Keys to educate in emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is learned. And it doesn’t matter if we are 4 or 70 years old. The pillars that define and build it can be trained, every day, to allow us to be more capable and, of course, happier.
With regard to our children, it is very appropriate to start this teaching very early. In this way, they internalize concepts and skills in a natural way, to better adapt to all the social and personal situations that they will experience in the years to come.
Let’s think, for example, that a very successful way to prevent our children from being victims – or even inducers – of bullying , is by educating them in emotional intelligence. Let’s look at some basic strategies.
1. My emotions have names, help me to know them
Every sensation, every “storm”, tantrum, laugh or well-being that the child experiences has a name, and this is something they should learn as soon as possible.
Your children can learn to name their emotions. To do this, it is important to act as your emotional guides.
- Get your children used to expressing phrases like “I feel … because …”. This strategy will allow you to say things like, for example: “I feel sad because at school a friend has insulted me.”
- The fact of giving them freedom and confidence so that they can talk about their emotions and thoughts, about what has happened to them during the day, without feeling judged by us, is essential.
2. What you feel and what I feel are not always the same
A key piece to educate in emotional intelligence is empathy. This psychological dimension is something that they will acquire over time.
- In fact, around the age of 7 or 8 they will have completely moved away from that “individualism” so typical of young children, somewhat selfish at times.
- Little by little they will begin to defend their friends (their peers), and they will already understand the points of view of others to become aware of the well-being of others.
So far, it is our obligation to encourage each day that they become aware of what is called empathy. You can achieve it through these strategies:
- Ask your children questions: how do you think grandfather was today? Have you seen him happy, sad, worried ?; How do you think that kid in the park felt when you pushed him?
- Be a model for your children: allow them to see in you every day that person who cares about others, who is capable of attending, of intuiting, of putting himself in their place to understand their point of view. If they see it in you, little by little, they will integrate it into their own behavior, without realizing it.
3. Help me to defend myself, help me to be assertive
To educate in emotional intelligence it is necessary to maintain a safe and mature communication, in which the child can apply empathy and talk about his own feelings to defend himself.
- It is vital that our children learn to be assertive. Assertiveness allows us to defend our rights, protect our limits, our integrity and, in turn, respect that of others.
- It is good that children are able to speak in the first person with complete freedom and without fear; claiming their needs but, at the same time, knowing what respect for others is.
- A child who feels heard is a child who knows how to listen and, at the same time, communicate.
Our children will not always have us by their side to defend them, to guide them through every difficulty. Therefore, it is convenient that we offer them adequate personal strategies with which to feel strong, capable and safe in their daily contexts.
At the same time, do not hesitate to attend every day to every need and concern that your children may have. Allow them to have in you that person to lean on, to whom to ask for advice and to whom to calmly reveal their emotions. It is worth educating in emotional intelligence.