If you’ve been reading our articles, you know how important this topic is. Emotional Intelligence is a critical skill. It isn’t just a skill that some of us have and some don’t. It is a skill that is taught, and requires practice.
Why is it so important? Because it is through the process of practicing these skills that children learn to apply their knowledge, innate gifts, and academic skills in the real world, in a constructive and cooperative way. They develop self-awareness and learn how to interpret situations. They practice identifying and understanding their emotions. And they model the emotionally intelligent behavior of others.
Social and emotional learning (SEL) goes beyond the classroom. It is something that happens all day, every day, including at home. As a matter of fact, studies consistently show that the emotional lessons, good or bad, that children learn from their parents are the most powerful and long lasting.
When a child suppresses emotions because a parent diminishes, punishes, or shames them for their emotions, it can cause them to become an angry or depressed adult. But when a child is encouraged to identify, understand, and deal with their emotions by parents who model that behavior, they are more likely to be become self-away, happy, healthy and productive adults.
Children who end their summer break, and begin the school year optimistically are going to thrive. Developing this sense of optimism requires understanding the value of, and taking advantage of, their free time. That comes from emotional intelligence.
Improved self control is an outcome of improved emotional intelligence. So the more learning that happens during the summer, the better prepared your child will be as they make the transitions into kindergarten, elementary, and middle school.
You can foster emotional learning, optimism and social skills development all summer long.
Model the behavior you want to see
Children learn more from what you do than by what you say. You can tell them all day long to feel good about who they are, but if they hear you berating yourself for not being perfect, or see you shaming yourself for your shortcomings, they are going to learn to do the same.
Nurture self-worth and self-acceptance
Self-esteem comes from having a good sense of self. You can play a big role in this part of your child’s development by giving them age-appropriate responsibilities, expressing gratitude for their efforts, and helping them understand that failing at something is not the same thing as being a failure.
Don’t force a fit
Your children aren’t all the same. It may be more difficult for you to foster emotional learning with a child that you have a hard time relating to than it is with a child whose personality and emotional traits closely mirror your own. It is imperative, however, that you recognize the differences in your children and not try to force them into the same mold because it is a more comfortable and familiar way for you to communicate.
Seek peer support
Talk with other parents. Even occasional, honest conversations about your child’s behavior when you aren’t around, can give you excellent insights into areas where your child is excelling and where you can provide additional support. Encourage your children to seek support as well. You may be doing everything right, but your child still may feel more comfortable discussing their feelings with another family member. Don’t view this as a failure on your part. It isn’t. It is a sign that your child is developing a sense of who they are and what they need.
Have a great summer. We look forward to seeing you soon. If you aren’t yet a Mizzentop parent, give us a call to schedule an interview or school visit. We’d love to meet you and your children.