More Than Book Smart: Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Be Emotionally Intelligent Too

More Than Book Smart: Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Be Emotionally Intelligent Too
  • Opening Intro -

    One of the most overlooked predictors for a successful and happy life is emotional intelligence.

    Emotional intelligence is a person's ability to communicate personal feelings clearly and understand the feelings of those around them.


It is not an easy skill, even for most adults. That is why it is a good idea to teach your kids to be emotionally intelligent at a young age. Here are four tips to get started.

Teach Them How to Express Their Feelings

Emotional intelligence is tricky because it is often difficult for people to articulate what they are feeling. This challenge applies even more to young children and adolescents who are experiencing emotions even more intensely and don’t fully understand them. You need to give your kids the words that will allow them to identify and communicate how they are feeling.

If they are showing signs of extreme feeling, ask them questions like, “Are you feeling angry? Are you feeling excited?” If they look thoughtful or tired, ask things like, “Are you feeling quiet? Are you feeling tired?

These questions are a great way to establish a relationship of mutual communication. Avoid giving these words a positive or negative connotation if you can. Teach them that it is okay to feel angry as long as they express the anger appropriately.

Talk About the Media You Watch Together

One of the most applicable ways to teach your children emotional intelligence is by talking about the media you consume together.

Movies, books, or even podcasts give plenty of examples of good communication and bad communication. They can provide fantastic scenarios of positive and negative relationships.

Given that almost all media explores interpersonal dynamics, there is a veritable treasure trove of fun and subtle ways to teach your kids emotional intelligence.

Try asking questions like, “Why do you think their relationship is so bad? What do you think that character is feeling right now? How would you feel if you were in that situation?

Consider SEL Lesson Plans

SEL stands for social and emotional learning, and using SEL lesson plans can be very helpful for parents who want a constructive and comprehensive way to teach their children emotional intelligence. Often, this kind of education places an emphasis on personal reflection, self-discipline, self-awareness, and relationship skills.

Some schools may use this as part of their curriculum, but you can also find lesson plans when you’re homeschooling your kids. There are several excellent and free resources to take advantage of online.

These include exercises to play and discussion questions that cover a lot of different aspects of emotional intelligence.

Be Open About Your Emotions

A relationship is a two-way street. It is challenging to communicate with someone who will not express their feelings. It is nearly impossible to teach a child emotional intelligence if you are not leading by example.

Parents often feel the need to hide negative emotions from their children. When they cannot do that, they may get stressed. Most children can sense that immediately, even when the parent tries to conceal it.

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That is why it is best practice to make a habit of being honest with your child about your feelings. If you are stressed because you are late for soccer practice, it is better to say that you are stressed but that everything is okay than tapping nervously on the steering wheel and creating a tense atmosphere in the car.

This can help you avoid making your children feel the blame for your emotions and can help the whole family work together to avoid issues in the future.

Whether you want to use SEL lesson plans or create your version, there are many unique and effective ways to teach your kids emotional intelligence.

Not only does this help them become more mature, but it also gives them crucial tools to process and manage their emotions and have empathy for the feelings of others.

Lastly, it is an excellent way to cultivate a strong and healthy bond between you and your kids that will last for years to come.

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