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Building Emotional Awareness In Children

Daniel Goleman in his famous book "Emotional Intelligence- Why It Can Matter More Than IQ" ushered in a new era in understanding success and why some people seem to do better than others. It seems at the bottom of it what matters is your "Emotional Quotient" which plays a far more important role than "Intellectual Quotient" in your success in today's world. It led to a movement where EI was introduced in schools and corporates.

According to a Forbes article, IQ is highly over-rated and 85% of your financial success is due to "human engineering" - your ability to led, interact and negotiate with others and only 15% of your success can be attributed to your technological know-how. People with higher EQ make better leaders and are able to make stronger bonds than others.

With this in mind, instead of exclusively focusing on your conventional intelligence quotient, you should make an investment in strengthening your EQ (Emotional Intelligence), MQ (Moral Intelligence), and BQ (Body Intelligence). These concepts may be elusive and difficult to measure, but their significance is far greater than IQ.

The earlier this skill is imparted, the better it is for the success of your children. If we inculcate EQ in our children at a young age, we are gearing them up for success in the future, for better relatioships and also for self-awareness.

Can EQ be taught to Children?

Absolutely. We often underestimate our kids and their abilities to process complexities of this emotional world. We often think we are protecting them but on the contrary you are making them less prepared for the future. Feelings can be talked about to kids as soon as they are verbal and in a trusted environment, children will express their feelings and will have greater empathy towards others.

Kids are constantly observing, noticing and developing their belief structures based on their emotional experiences and while we teach our children everything, we don't impart this basic skill to them.

Here are different ways in which EQ can be imparted:

1) Help your child recognize their emotions:

The first step is using mindful awareness to help your child define their own emotions. Let them relate their emotions to their senses.The above video does it well as it gives a representation to the emotion through various images and senses. When your child is frustrated or sad or showing unwanted behavior, sit down with him/her and ask them how they feel. Ask them to take a moment to breath and then draw the feeling. A teacher I know uses emoticons to help children identify feelings.

2) Talk about your own emotions and feelings:

Children learn the most by observation. Be open about your own emotions. Talk to them about your own feelings. Tell them if you are angry, happy and be in tune with your ownself. The key in this is accepting responsibility for the genesis of your own emotions. "I am angry not because of you but because of my ownself".

3) Impart mindfulness education:

Studies have found that a mindfulness practice can help reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety in children. It can also increase gray matter density in regions of the brain involved in emotional regulation. Another study of adolescents found that yoga, which can increase mindfulness, helped improve student's emotional regulation capacity.

We will explore more on mindfulness and emotional intelligence in our articles in the future. Subscribe to our newsletter to get prompt feeds.

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