Here’s how to increase emotional intelligence in children by focusing on the following 5 components each and every day.
This isn’t something that is a one and done.
You’ll notice immediately that your child or teenager has nailed some of these, or even most.
But then there will be one or more that you need to continually work on each and every day.
Heck, as adults we also need to work on one or more daily.
- Self-Awareness: The ability to know your own emotions in the moment and recognize how they impact others
- Self-Regulation: Now that you’re aware of how you’re feeling emotionally, you need to control your emotions
- Internal Motivation: More than external motivations, having something internally that drives you
- Empathy: Are you able to step outside your own thoughts and perceptions to understand how someone else feels?
- Social Skills: The ability to be able to interact with other individuals, even when it’s uncomfortable
Let’s go through each of these 5 in more detail, but first let’s touch on why many say EQ (emotional intelligence) is more important than IQ because this isn’t focused on in school or education very much.
Why is Emotional Intelligence so Important
The idea of emotional intelligence was first made popular by psychologist, Dr. Daniel Goleman, and this was his 1995 book, ‘Emotional Intelligence.’
According to Harvard Business Review, emotional intelligence is ‘the key attribute that distinguishes outstanding performers, and this is the leading differentiator between employees whose IQ and technical skills are approximately the same.”
A 2015 study conducted by Talent Smart found that EQ is the strongest predictor of work performance, accounting for about 58% of success in all fields.
It doesn’t end there, either. There are a number of other studies that have proven that EQ is more indicative of success and happiness than IQ.
And the great news is that EQ can be developed and grown, versus IQ that’s considered relatively static.
5 Ways How to Increase Emotional Intelligence in Children
The first component of emotional intelligence is self-awareness.
How aware are you of your mood and how it impacts your behavior? Emotions are contagious, so it’s incredibly important to be aware of how you’re feeling and how those feelings are impacting your behavior.
If you are tired and have a short fuse, your family is going to feel they have to walk on eggshells around you. (This goes for teens as well as parents.) On the other hand, if you are calm and positive, that positive attitude is going to impact your family in the same way.
Being aware of your emotions is an important first step… but you also need to be able to regulate those emotions.
However, it’s not just about being able to avoid snapping at someone when you’re frustrated. It’s about channeling negative emotion into positive action.
So instead of counting to 10 when you’re angry with your teen (or when your teen is angry with a friend or sibling), try writing down how you feel and shredding it. Taking some kind of action can have a bigger impact on your ability to let go of your frustration.
Internal motivation means you recognize what’s driving you, internally. Why does your child want to continue participating in a sport? What’s driving him or her internally? Because with that internal motivation, it will be easy to overcome obstacles and push harder. If the only motivation is external, your child will either want to quit or will come to hate the sport over time.
Empathy is hugely important in every stage of life.
Empathy helps you to better communicate with others, since you can adapt your approach and gauge body language and physical reactions. It also makes it easier to self-regulate, since you’ll be more aware of how others are responding to your own words and actions.
Working on empathy just means putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Imagine being where they are. How would you feel?
Social skills are necessary in pretty much every aspect of life, from conflict resolution to motivating our friends, family, or co-workers. This is another skill that you improve through “doing.”
It may be uncomfortable, but it’s important to get out there and put yourself in situations where you have to interact with others, whether it’s through team sports or youth groups.
Conclusion: Teaching Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence was first made popular by psychologist, Dr. Daniel Goleman, and this was his 1995 book, ‘Emotional Intelligence.’ In his book and the many studies that followed, it became clear that emotional intelligence (EQ) was a greater indicator of success than IQ. Fortunately, unlike IQ, EQ can be improved upon with some effort.
The key components of emotional intelligence are:
- Internal Motivation
- Social Skills
Which one of these do you see that you or your children have nailed and which ones need some work? Leave us a comment below or join the conversation back in our Facebook group!