How important is it to you that you raise a kind child? A recent study found that 90% of American parents say it’s important to them that they raise kids who are caring.
After decades of prioritizing our child’s IQ levels, there’s been a shift to start focusing on emotional intelligence, or EI. In a world that’s changing rapidly, our kids need to be empathetic, resilient and able to adapt to whatever is thrown at them.
In fact, according to the World Economic Forum Future of Job Report, emotional intelligence was one of the top 10 desired job skills in 2020 with 71% of hiring managers stating that they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ.
So how can we help build emotional intelligence in our children? And why is it so important?
According to Daniel Goleman, the psychologist and science journalist who helped popularize the term, emotional intelligence includes a person’s self awareness, their ability to self-manage their social awareness and their ability to manage relationships effectively.
Basically, it comes down to understanding your unique emotions.
How to cultivate EI in our children
Help them feel their feelings
The first step toward emotional intelligence? Feeling your feelings and sitting in the discomfort that can arise.
If you’re allergic to the idea of sitting with some uncomfortable sensations, you are not alone. And if letting your child experience difficult feelings without stepping in to save the day feels like a radical idea, it makes sense.
For most of our lives, we were trained not to feel. As children we were shushed. Told not to cry. Told not to yell. Given a cookie or a bottle to keep quiet. Rewarded for keeping our pain inside. Anything so that others could avoid the uncomfortability and inconvenience of our emotions.
But it’s only a matter of time before these repressed and unexpressed emotions come out to play.
In order to grow your child’s resilience and emotional intelligence, it’s vital to help them understand their feelings and process them once they come up.
One productive way to help your child work through this? Talk to them about what they’re feeling. Explain that you have these feelings too, and remind them of how quickly they’ll pass if you feel them fully.
For younger kids, have them name these harsh feelings and give them personalities. Explain that none of these characters are good or bad — they’re just part of what makes your child, your child.
Another way to help your child build emotional intelligence? Help them cultivate a mindfulness or meditation practice such as our upcoming stress-reduction course, zivaKIDS. This will give them real-time tools to help them calm down and process feelings.
And the more they practice, the more they wire their brains and bodies to better handle stress and process emotions.
Celebrate their success
We can’t build on success we don’t acknowledge. Help your child cultivate these healthy habits by praising them when you see them practicing these tools.
This can be hard work, and the more they are acknowledged, the more likely it is they’ll continue — something that will serve them long past their childhood years.
zivaKIDS is meditation to help kids thrive. In it, children learn fun and engaging mindfulness, meditation and manifesting techniques in just a few minutes a day over 7 days. See inside the course and download our guided audio, Best Day Ever: 10 Minutes to Intentional Parenting here!