7 everyday habits that can build emotional intelligence in your child

Emotional intelligence is a skill. And like any other skill, it requires practice and nurturing.

Now, as a parent, you might be thinking, “How can I help my child develop this skill?”

You might not realize it, but your daily habits can play a significant role in fostering emotional intelligence in your child.

This article will reveal 7 everyday habits that can help do just that. These might just be the tools you need to shape your child’s emotional intelligence effectively.

1) Practice active listening

We all want to feel heard, right? Well, your child is no different.

Active listening is a crucial skill that doesn’t just involve hearing the words that are being said. It’s about understanding the emotions and intentions behind those words.

So how can you practice active listening with your child?

It’s simple.

When your child talks to you about their day, their feelings, or their worries, don’t just nod along. Show genuine interest, ask follow-up questions, and respond in a way that shows you understand and empathize with their feelings.

By doing this, you’re not only building a strong bond with your child but also modeling a valuable emotional intelligence skill they can emulate in their interactions with others.

2) Express your own feelings

Growing up, I remember my dad was a man of few words.

He was loving and caring, of course, but he rarely talked about his feelings. Back then, I didn’t realize it, but this impacted how I dealt with my own emotions.

Fast forward to today.

When I became a parent, I made it a point to express my feelings openly in front of my children. If I’m feeling stressed or upset, I let them know in a calm and composed way.

I’ve noticed that this has encouraged my kids to also share their feelings more openly. They’ve started understanding that it’s okay to feel and express various emotions. This has been a small but significant step towards building their emotional intelligence.

Remember, we are our children’s first teachers. They learn from what they see us do more than from what they hear us say. So let’s lead by example!

3) Encourage empathy

As a kid, I had a best friend named Sam.

Sam was the kid everyone wanted to be friends with. Not because he was the funniest or the smartest, but because he had this amazing ability to understand and share the feelings of others. He had a high level of empathy.

Looking back now, I realize his parents played a big role in that.

I remember one day, we found a bird with a broken wing in his backyard. Sam’s mother didn’t just tell us to leave it alone or take care of it by herself. Instead, she involved us in nursing it back to health.

Through that experience, she taught us how to empathize with the bird’s pain and understand its needs.

Now as a parent, I try to instill the same values in my children. I encourage them to think about how others might be feeling in different situations and how their actions can impact those around them.

ways parents encourage children self esteem 7 everyday habits that can build emotional intelligence in your child

4) Set healthy boundaries

In the realm of emotional intelligence, understanding boundaries is key.

Now, you might be wondering, “How exactly do boundaries relate to emotional intelligence?”

Here’s how.

Setting healthy boundaries teaches your child respect for others’ emotions and spaces, and in turn how to demand respect for their own.

This could be as simple as teaching them to knock before entering a room or asking permission before using someone else’s belongings.

By setting and respecting these boundaries, your child learns to navigate social situations better, enhances their understanding of interpersonal relationships, and boosts their emotional intelligence.

5) Teach the language of emotions

Did you know that children who can accurately identify and express their emotions are less likely to exhibit social withdrawal and aggression?

Yes, the ability to express emotions is that powerful!

Unfortunately, many kids (and even adults!) struggle with this because they don’t have a wide enough emotional vocabulary.

How can we change this?

One way is to start introducing more emotion words into daily conversations. If your child is upset because they can’t find their favorite toy, for example, acknowledge their frustration and help them label the emotion.

By doing this over time, you’re equipping your child with a rich emotional vocabulary that can serve them well throughout their life, significantly boosting their emotional intelligence.

6) Model conflict resolution

I’ll admit it. I don’t always get along perfectly with my spouse. We have our disagreements, just like any other couple.

Recently, we had a disagreement about something trivial, but it escalated. Our voices raised, and we weren’t listening to each other.

Then, I noticed my daughter watching us.

It hit me then – I was teaching her that this is how conflicts should be handled.

From that day forward, we’ve made an effort to model healthy conflict resolution in our home. We show our daughter that it’s okay to disagree, but it’s important to listen to the other person’s perspective, stay respectful, and work towards a compromise.

This change in behavior has shown our daughter a healthier way to manage conflicts and disagreements, a skill that is vital in building emotional intelligence.

7) Cultivate gratitude

Gratitude is more than just saying ‘thank you’. It’s about recognizing the good in our lives and appreciating what we have.

Instilling a sense of gratitude in your child can help them develop a positive outlook on life, which in turn can boost their emotional intelligence.

One way to do this is by incorporating a simple gratitude practice into your daily routine. This could be as simple as sharing one thing you’re grateful for at the dinner table each night.

This habit encourages your child to focus on the positive aspects of their day, helping them to better manage negative emotions and build resilience.

Remember, emotional intelligence is not just about understanding and managing our own emotions, but also about recognizing and responding to the emotions of others. And gratitude plays a key role in this.

The final thoughts

Recognize any of these habits in your daily routine?

If you do, congratulations! You’re already on the path to nurturing emotional intelligence in your child.

But if not, that’s okay too. This is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.

These habits, like all good things, take time and consistent effort to cultivate. But the outcome? An emotionally intelligent child who can navigate the ups and downs of life with resilience and empathy.

Begin by integrating one or two of these habits into your routine. Maybe start with active listening or expressing your emotions more openly. Each small step you take is a stride towards building your child’s emotional intelligence.

So take heart, stay patient, and keep going. Because every effort you make today will contribute to your child’s emotional well-being tomorrow.

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Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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