16 Mar Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically (Dictionary definition) When we think of children’s abilities to learn their ABCs and 123s, they also need to learn to be aware of and control their emotions. This is a hard concept to teach as well as a hard concept to learn.
Strong leadership relies on developed emotional intelligence. Strong Leaders have the ability to be mature, control their emotions and articulate their feelings. How did they get there?
At Little Newtons, we teach them to talk about their emotions. It is OK to be mad, sad, frustrated, scared, happy, and silly. We do activities to show them what someone looks like when they are mad, what might cause someone to be scared, who to talk to if you feel frustrated. It is very important that they learn what to do with their emotions rather than not to experience them. We don’t want to teach them its not OK to be mad, then they suppress those emotions and many years from now won’t have the ability to deal with that anger.
Problem solving is a big key for dealing with certain emotions. Johnny is mad that Sally took his toy; that is acceptable to be mad, but how can Johnny work through being mad at Sally? Can he suggest a deal? Sally can play with the toy for 5-10 mins and then they can swap? Is there another toy Johnny likes better and when Sally is finished he can play with the toy again? Can he tell Sally he is mad that she took his toy and Sally can use her social skills to understand that upset him and give it back?
Listening to children express their emotions is something that caretakers, parents, adults, etc need to do. An adult may think “Johnny, there are more toys, don’t be mad!” or “Sally that wasn’t nice to do, give it back!” But the most important thing is to listen to both children that are upset. Don’t suppress what they are feeling. Give them the tools to solve their problems and express their emotions.
If we are teaching children to be exceptional academically, we also need to focus on the whole child and teach them self control, emotional intelligence and how to be strong leaders! Children are our future!