How to Cultivate the Emotional Intelligence in Children

They say that emotional intelligence has a strong genetic determination, but it can be cultivated from an early age and developed throughout life.

How to Cultivate the Emotional Intelligence in Children
02 July 2020

Why is it important to cultivate children's emotional intelligence? Because, in this way, they will be better prepared for the challenges in life. In time, emotional intelligent children become balanced adults, who can manage rationally and calmly complicated situations. 

Emotionally intelligent children are aware of their emotions and speak freely about them, while recognizing the emotions of those around them. They know how to manage their negative feelings, having a reasonable behavior even when things don’t go as they would like to and they don’t abandon an activity when it becomes difficult. 

It all begins in the family, where children learn patterns of behavior and ways to manage emotions. In general, children copy their parents' behaviors, so the power of example is very important. 

Here is an example of how children develop their emotional intelligence: 
As a parent, if something has bothered you to such an extent that you have become angry or burst into tears, do not act as if nothing has happened. It helps to explain your children - as calmly as possible - how you feel. You can also tell them that you will feel better soon, but that you need a few quiet moments. Or tell them that a hug will make you feel so much better. 

Avoid to take it out on your children. Don’t ask them to leave you alone without explaining what happened and do not punish them because they dared to bother you at a bad time. 

So, here are some ways to raise emotionally intelligent children:  

  • You should be an example of emotional intelligence for your children! 
  • Open your heart to them, use simple words, and adapt your approach to their age and understanding. Thus, they will learn to replicate this type of behavior and won’t be ashamed to honestly speak about their feelings. 
  • Listen to them and help them make the best decisions. 
  • Practice various life situations with your children and teach them how to react. 
  • Try not to judge people! 
  • Involvement in both household chores and certain decision-making situations make children feel important. 
  • Children need to socialize and play, so make sure they benefit of those activities as much as possible. 

Children who grow up in families that consciously take responsibility for building their emotional intelligence are encouraged to express their feelings, are listened to and understood. They are being calmly answered to, their opinions are taken into account and are offered unconditional love and appreciation. 

How do we recognize emotionally intelligent children?  

  • They are easy to talk to. 
  • They understand when they are explained certain things about the feelings of the people around them. 

  • They adapt easily to new situations and with new people. 

  • They make friends easily. 

  • They are confident in general and, when they need help, they know how to ask for it.  

Here are some benefits of cultivating emotional intelligence of children at young ages: 

- successful management of relationships with others; 

- building empathy and social awareness; 

- achieving a high degree of self-control and self-knowledge. 

Building emotional intelligence is a continuous process. As grown-ups, our personal development carries on, while our emotional maturity is being influenced by the way we relate to the experiences and challenges we face. 

From the desire to support parents and children of all ages, UNICEF, together with central and local authorities and NGOs, has designed and developed educational activities for parents with children of all ages. These good practices, defined in the UNICEF Let's Go to School and Quality Inclusive Education programs, have already been shared with six EU Member States and Israel. 

Parenting education courses are a set of activities and methods that support families to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to care for and protect their children. Classes are adapted to the diverse needs of children, from newborns to 18 years old, as well as to the requirements of their parents or guardians. 

Over 800 parenting educators participate in the program and over 31,000 parents and tutors in Romania received support. 

Within the program, the platform was developed in partnership with HoltIS and the Ministry of Education.