Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a very important quality to have. People tend to focus so much on IQ that they forget to foster their children's EQ. Emotional Intelligence according to Diffen.com is a “person’s ability to identify, evaluate, control and express emotions.” It helps us communicate with others, negotiate situations and develop clear thought patterns.
Why is Emotional Intelligence so important?
One of my favourite lines uttered in the Harry Potter series comes from Miss Hermione Granger: “Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have.” She was explaining to the boys all the tumultuous feelings that Cho Chang was experiencing following the death of Cedric Diggory.
Now, I'm not just throwing a random Harry Potter reference out here for fun, but to show how important it is to foster emotional intelligence when it comes to interpersonal relationships. But Ron certainly could've done with some help from his parents in developing his emotional intelligence.
Having a high emotional intelligence means that people work harder, resolve conflict easier, explore new activities and achieve more in life. The inability to express their feelings result in a general lack of communication, poor discipline and frustration that manifests low self-esteem within both children and adults.
I see how my 4-year-old son struggles with his emotions. They often end up in him being frustrated then screaming and shouting because he doesn't understand what he is feeling is jealousy that the baby is getting more attention or he's excited so he ends up screaming the whole place down.
You can take an active role in the developing your child's emotional intelligence from as young as 4 years old.
How to build your child's Emotional Intelligence
A great way to do this is to talk to your children about what they are feeling and to help them identify emotions that may be too complicated for them to understand.
The iFeel emotional intelligence playing card game is a really fun way to do this. Cape Town-based child therapist and social worker, Shontell Fiet, applied her extensive knowledge and experience of child play therapy to develop a support tool for parents and therapists in need of a practical solution.
The game includes a deck of 14 animal-themed cards that promotes a fun and non-threatening context in which children – aged three and older – can safely explore and express their feelings. Through the power of projection, the game teaches children to identify and express their emotions.
The facial expressions and visual clues within the cards are intended to encourage the child to project their own interpretations, which means that there are no right or wrong answers. This enables parents, teachers and therapists to gain an in-depth understanding of their experiences – both positive and negative – to address problem areas, improve their social skills, memory, cognitive skills and vocabulary.
Fiet says: “Our ability to develop and maintain emotional intelligence is paramount to the early childhood development stages. An emotionally intelligent individual is more likely to achieve confidence and success than a person who simply has a high IQ, supporting the argument that we need to teach our children to identify, acknowledge and regulate their feelings from a young age.”
She developed this game to provide an easy-to-use, affordable tool for parents, teachers and anyone actively involved with childhood development. Commenting on the ultimate benefits to parents, she adds: “I believe that – when our children are confident that their feelings will be heard within a safe, stimulating environment – they will learn to communicate them effectively.”
The game costs R250 and you can place an email order at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the game visit iFeel's website or Facebook page and check it out on YouTube.
Do you think it's important to spend extra time developing your child's emotional intelligence? Send your thoughts to email@example.com and we could publish them.