Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, refers to a person’s ability to identify and understand their own and others’ emotions. People with emotional intelligence use this understanding to manage their behaviour, influence others and make good choices.
Emotional intelligence is important for students because it equips them with the skills to handle conflicts and difficult situations. Kids with high EQ are more resilient in the face of bullying, can resist peer pressure and are able to recognise when they are becoming stressed. They perform better academically and have superior communication skills.
EQ in the Classroom
Good emotional intelligence has been found to have a significant impact on classroom behaviour. Students who lack insight into their own and others’ emotions find it hard to concentrate on their school work and form strong relationships with teachers and peers. They often act aggressively because they can’t express themselves or manage their behaviour.
Family dynamics play a pivotal role in equipping students with EQ, putting many at a disadvantage. Experts believe that emotional intelligence is so vital to future success and happiness that it should be explicitly taught at school through instruction and role playing.
Schools with programs to enhance EQ benefit from a more harmonious classroom environment. Studies have found that secondary students who have been taught to identify and manage their emotions are less likely to engage in risk behaviours and they display greater self-awareness and confidence.
Multiple studies have found a strong link between emotional intelligence and academic performance. Students with high EQ perform significantly better than others and stay at school for longer, reinforcing how important it is for parents and teachers to foster EQ.
Tips for Enhancing Your Child’s EQ
- Allow kids to talk about their feelings. To gain self-awareness, children need to be able to talk freely about emotions without fear of judgement or ridicule. You can encourage kids to ‘name and tame’ emotions by asking them how they’re feeling and discussing why they feel this way. This allows them to recognise their emotions and develop empathy. It also enhances communication skills.
- Model problem solving skills. When children experience negative emotions, it provides an excellent opportunity to talk about what they can do to alleviate these feelings. This allows kids to recognise that they are not controlled by their emotions and helps them develop strategies to manage them.
- Talk about your own feelings. By telling your child honestly about times when you’ve been angry, scared or lonely you give them permission to own their emotions. This also gives them insights into how others think, feel and manage their emotions.
- Read stories together. Reading about fictional characters is a great way for kids to develop empathy and understanding. When reading books with younger kids, ask questions about how the characters are feeling and encourage children to relate these emotions to their own experiences.
To achieve happiness and success, kids need to develop emotional intelligence.