Emotional intelligence is a life skill that enables a person to be aware of their emotions enough to be able to control and regulate them in an appropriate manner. It also allows a person to be understanding and empathetic of other people’s emotions, even if they have never felt that particular emotion before. This is called empathy. To teach emotional intelligence to children, you need to do activities and play games that help them notice and healthily deal with emotions. Acknowledge Your Child’s Emotions Our society has a habit of pushing boys to stuff their feelings and accusing girls of overreacting. Instead of doing this same old thing, acknowledge your child’s very real emotions. They may seem strong to you and maybe even overwrought and out of proportion to the incident, but the truth is, these are your child’s feelings, and they are indeed very real. Show Empathy When Your Child Has Feelings When your child is brave enough to open up to you about how they are feeling, you must demonstrate empathy with your child. Take the time to talk to your child about a time you felt just like them. If you haven’t felt like them before, find another story to help show your child that you can relate to their feelings in an understanding way. Allow Children to Express Emotions Openly When your child falls and cries, don’t shush them or tell them to “brave it out” or worse “suck it up.” Instead, comfort your child so that as they get older, they feel safe to share their feelings about even more important issues. Emotions shouldn’t be something they are afraid to express. You can teach them to express them behind closed doors, and direct them to appropriate outlets for their emotions, but don’t make them deny their feelings. Listen to Your Children’s Feelings When your child wants to talk about their feelings, listen actively. Mirror back to your child what you believe they are telling you. Let them know that their feelings are normal and acceptable. Don’t cut them off and tell them they are silly. Listen, empathise, and let them know you are there for them. Teach Problem-Solving Skills When your child talks to you about their feelings or comes to you with a problem, talk them through the problem in a logical way without overreacting. Children learn these skills from their parents, and if their parents can’t contain themselves, it will be harder for the child to learn. Don’t Interrupt a Child’s Expression As a child expresses, don’t interrupt the process of expression. However, it’s okay to redirect your child when things get too emotional in such a way that it’s not beneficial to moving toward a healthy resolution. Don’t Judge Children Harshly for Feelings Sometimes children have strong feelings for things that we realise aren’t that important as adults, but it’s crucial to not judge your child for a child’s emotions with a child’s knowledge of the world. Instead, accept them and support them. Encourage Children to Write Down Their Feelings When a child is of age to draw pictures or write words, ask them to write or draw their feelings as a way to acknowledge them and experience them fully. Let them explain what they drew or wrote in a non-judgmental atmosphere. Allow Them to Move On Sometimes wallowing in feelings too long is counter-productive. Teach your children to name their feelings, figure out why they have the feelings, and then to move past those feelings toward acceptance and eventually moving on to something new. Teaching children about emotional intelligence is an essential life skill that can last a lifetime. This will come to cross over to all aspects of life, helping the child navigate their youth and have a happy adulthood. Emotional intelligence will be taught and should be taught to children.