- 2 mins
Supporting Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence
It starts with you! You spend each moment making your children a priority and your self-care can sometimes take a back seat. It is so essential for you to prioritize yourself! Having space to just be you and doing something for you can help you not run on empty. For fifteen minutes a day, whether it’s having a spa bubble bath or listening to a podcast while you dry your hair (my personal favorite), these are little moments where you can give back to yourself. Your children are naturally highly attuned to your moods and looking deeper into how you are feeling is truly beneficial to your children’s spirits. You are modeling what it looks like to look after your own mental health.
Here are some great ways to support your child’s emotional intelligence:
Be available and present.
Children are emotional, they have tantrums, meltdowns and a ton of questions! Actively listen in these moments. Particularly during your child’s big feeling, be alongside them in it as you are their safety. This shows them that nothing is too big for you to contain. Try not to ignore, trivialize or dismiss your child’s feelings, even if they are silly. To them, they are significant. Be sensitive and attuned. Even if you don’t have the answer, it is something you can both explore together.
Listen, validate and be in the moment.
Emotional expression and behavior are opportunities for connection, learning and growth. These are moments where you can help your child develop empathy, a growth mindset and in turn, their emotional intelligence. By listening, validating and truly understanding your child in their feelings, you are modeling empathy. Sometimes time can escape you and you are rushing from one place to another. You will find that the more you stop and give your child your focus, empathy and understanding in that moment, your child will respond to you differently than if you ignored them or said “no”.
Learn your triggers.
We are all human and we all have our own emotional triggers. Often, we see ourselves in our children during particular moments they have. Spending some time understanding what your triggers may be to your child’s behavior will help you be a vehicle of regulation for them. Rather than absorbing their big feeling. Remember, it is in your calm that your children find their own.
Label those big feelings for your child.
Labeling these big feelings and reflecting back on their experience, will help them better understand what is going on inside. Use words that you know your child will understand. Sometimes it can help to narrate what you see and connect with the feeling, not the behavior. This strengthens their perspective that it is because of their big feeling that they are responding this way. Be curious with your child about their responses to big feelings and wonder aloud with them – these are the teachable moments where growth mindset and emotional development happen. Reach out for appropriate support and resources in Moshi, for example. This can be a useful visual tool for our children to help hear your words in the eyes of fun, playful characters and situations.
Connect with your child.
Perhaps your child needs comfort in this tricky moment. Perhaps they need you to say nothing at all but be present with them. Remember, you are their safety. How you respond to your child, is showing them the ways in which they can respond during conflicts in their own future relationships.
For further resources and research on supporting your child’s emotional intelligence, take a look at John Gottman. They’re an award-winning research psychologist who has written many supportive parenting books and research on raising emotionally intelligent children.