How to help your child to be emotionally intelligent


Emotional intelligence has gained increasing attention over the past decade. People who are emotionally intelligent, tend to be  strong communicators, empathetic and have a strong ability to identify and evaluate emotional responses in themselves and others. Oaktree Primary School Counsellor Chene Loots and Founding Principal Christopher McDermott share their tips on nurturing your child’s emotional intelligence…

Teaching children self-awareness

The most important person you manage is yourself, and who you are. It’s important to encourage children to think about their own behaviour so that they know to do ‘the right thing’, even when no one can see them.

The importance of emotional tenacity 

It’s important to teach children to be able to cope with emotionally stressful situations.  A world that continually caters to make people more and more comfortable creates a world full of people who are less and less capable of coping with, and being open to, even the slightest discomfort or inconvenience. We need children to understand that they have to cope with life’s challenges, not avoid them all.

Learning from mistakes

If you do not accept that you will make mistakes and are not able to live with mistakes, you will limit what you  can learn. We all get things wrong, and to develop as children and adults we must appreciate that it is acceptable to make mistakes. If we do not make ourselves vulnerable to make mistakes, we will never push ourselves to achieve our best.

Recognising the uniqueness of every child

It’s important to recognise that all children are different, and to encourage them to celebrate their uniqueness, rather than trying to be the same as everyone else. All children deserve to be listened and catered to. Treating everyone fairly does not mean that you treat everyone exactly the same way.

Structure and consistency

All children deserve a secure environment in which the reactions they receive are dependent on their behaviour and not the mood of the adult they are interacting with.

Acceptance and intention

All adults involved with children must accept that children can do right and wrong. Intention is key.” If the child makes a mistake in an endeavour to learn, they need to be supported; if they behave spitefully towards others, they need to know that this is wrong. However, as adults, we should focus on blaming the action, not the child.

Encourage positive behaviour

Sometimes we, as adults can reserve our reactions to children to times when we spot them being naughty, but we must not forget to tell them when they are being well-behaved and considerate to others, especially when this behaviour is not prompted.

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