As a parent, I’ve encountered moms talk about “IQ” when talking about intellect and how smart their children are. IQ stands for “intellectual quotient.” It can help predict how well a child may do academically later in life.
IQ is just one measure of our abilities though. There are other parts and facets to a child’s intelligence in addition to intellect. For example, spatial intelligence is the ability to visualize while musical intelligence is the ability to recognize rhythm, cadence, and tone. Athletic, artistic and mechanical abilities are other types of intelligence.
One important type of intelligence is Emotional intelligence, sometimes referred to as EQ, is often overlooked as a skill set in today’s world.
WHAT IS EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE?
“The ability to learn, understand and make judgments or have opinions that are based on reason.” (Cambridge Advance Learner’s Dictionary 2006)
In 1995, the bestselling book by Daniel Goleman entitled, Emotional Intelligence, made emotional intelligence a household word.
One way to think about EQ is that our child is people-smart, exhibiting empathy, understanding and a better understanding of his / her surroundings. In fact, some studies show that EQ is more important than IQ when it comes to doing well in school or being successful at work.
HOW TO RAISE AN EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT CHILD
Children with higher EQ exhibit leadership skills and have strong relationships, make good decisions, and deal with difficult situations. Today one in 5 children exhibit anxiety, depression, or behavioural problems.
When our child learns to calm herself when she feels angry, she is likely to do well in difficult circumstances. And when our child expresses his emotions in a healthy way, he is likely to maintain healthier relationships than a child who screams or says mean things when he’s angry.
The good news is, all kids have the capacity to learn emotional intelligence skills. They just need adults to teach them how.
1. Identify and name the emotion correctly (Knowing one’s emotions)
As Parents, we need to help our child to recognize what they’re feeling by putting a name to her emotions—at least the emotion you suspect your child is feeling.
Using emotional words for feelings rather than actions will go a long way. When children feel heard, they feel validated and that builds trust between them and you.
2. Model your behaviour and encourage pretend play.
Our children need to know how to express their emotions in a socially appropriate way. The best way to teach them this is by modelling these skills yourself.
By age 3, kids will start acting out situations and imitating people they are familiar with – for instance, pretending to be at the playground, a birthday party or in public using toys can help them practice social skills.
3. Teach Healthy Coping Skills (Managing emotions)
Once our children understand their emotions, they need to learn how to deal with those emotions in a healthy way. Knowing how to calm themselves down, cheer themselves up, or face their fears can be complicated for little ones.
At home, we have a Calm Down Kit – Fidget spinners, a simple box that holds a colouring book, some coloured pencils, some crepe paper to tear and make into a collage, a music playlist that plays soothing or upbeat music, her favourite stuffed toy and a fragrant lotion to engage her senses and calm her emotions.
4. Develop Problem-Solving Skills (Motivating oneself)
Part of building emotional intelligence involves learning how to solve problems. After the feelings have been labelled and addressed, it’s time to work through and fix the problem itself. Help your child brainstorm ideas on how to work through the problem and provide guidance to show that he has the ability to solve problems peacefully and effectively on his own.
5. Recognizing emotions in others (Empathy)
Emotionally intelligent people are skilled at putting themselves in others’ shoes. So, consider situations from others’ perspectives to better understand those around you.
PROPER NUTRITION TO SUPPORT EQ AND IQ
With technological advances and accelerated changes in a borderless world, our children will be growing up in a vastly different world compared to ours. Having high IQ alone is not enough to succeed. The other half lies in EQ – the ability to communicate, understand emotions and cooperate.
While parental nurturance and a stimulating environment influence mental and emotional development, nutrition also plays a starring role. Increase the consumption of fresh foods, fruits, and vegetables. Reduce reliance on packaged and outside food.
As food affects moods and emotional well being, it is essential to lower the dependence on healthy food and switch to consuming food that is healthy and rich in all the required nutrients for children. Among all nutrients, Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid is one of the most important as it forms the building block of the brain.
As a regular diet might not provide the expert-recommended level of DHA, I have started giving my child Enfagrow A+, a fortified food that comes with DHA and other key nutrients required for holistic development. A glass of milk with Enfagrow A+ provides my child with the required amount of DHA and other nutrients like Iron, Zinc, Vitamin B6, B12, and Folate.
Enfagrow A+ isn’t your everyday health drink, it has been developed by Mead Johnson, a research and development centre with 30 years of global experience in DHA research. With its high-quality DHA, Enfagrow A+ ensures proper Nutrition and Brain development for increased EQ in Children.
Buy it here
We want the best for our children. From the moment they’re born, we should look for ways to stimulate learning potential and strengthen their Emotional Intelligence/Quotient (EQ). Doing so not only improves our child’s ability to learn, it provides tools for them to manage emotions and develop coping skills resulting in healthy self-esteem and good decision-making skills.