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Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Importance of Talking with Kids About Their Feelings

Updated: Mar 21


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Are you looking for ways to support your child's emotional growth?


As a parent, your role in guiding your child's emotional growth is crucial. Teaching them to understand and cope with their feelings equips them with valuable skills for navigating life's highs and lows.


In this post, we'll explore the importance of raising an emotionally intelligent child and provide tips on how to talk with your child about their feelings.

What is Emotional Intelligence and Why is it Important?


Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one's own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It involves being aware of your own feelings and how they impact your behavior and relationships, as well as being able to empathize with others and respond to their emotions in a healthy way.


Research has shown that emotional intelligence is a key predictor of success in life. Children who develop strong emotional intelligence skills are better equipped to handle stress, build positive relationships, and communicate effectively. They are also more likely to be resilient in the face of adversity and have higher levels of self-esteem and confidence.


Teaching Emotional Intelligence in Early Childhood


The foundation for emotional intelligence is laid in early childhood. As a parent, you can help your child develop emotional intelligence by modeling healthy emotional behavior and providing opportunities for them to practice their emotional skills.


One effective way to teach emotional intelligence is through emotion coaching. This involves helping your child identify and label their emotions, validating their feelings, and providing support and guidance as they learn how to regulate their emotions.


By using emotion coaching phrases like "I can see that you're feeling frustrated right now" or "It's okay to feel sad sometimes," you can help your child develop a vocabulary for their emotions and feel more comfortable expressing them.


A father sitting with his angry toddler out on a porch  step

The Benefits of Talking with Kids About Their Feelings


Talking with your child about their feelings is an important part of developing emotional intelligence.


When you encourage your child to express their emotions, you are helping them build self-awareness and self-regulation skills. You are also showing them that their feelings are important and worthy of attention.


In addition to promoting emotional intelligence, talking with your child about their feelings can also strengthen your relationship with them. When your child feels heard and understood, they are more likely to trust and confide in you. This can help you stay connected with your child and provide support when they need it.



How to Encourage Open Communication with Your Child


Encouraging open communication with your child is essential for promoting emotional intelligence. Here are some tips for creating a safe space for your child to express their emotions:


  1. Be present: When your child wants to talk with you, put aside any distractions and give them your full attention. This shows them that their feelings are important to you.

  2. Listen actively: When your child is talking, listen to what they are saying without interrupting or judging. Ask open-ended questions to help them express themselves.

  3. Validate their feelings: Let your child know that their feelings are normal and that it's okay to feel the way they do. Avoid dismissing or minimizing their emotions.

  4. Stay calm: If your child is upset, try to stay calm and avoid reacting emotionally. This can help your child feel more in control of their own emotions.

Tips for Creating a Safe Space for Your Child to Express Their Emotions


Creating a safe space for your child to express their emotions is also essential for promoting emotional intelligence. Here are some tips for creating a safe and supportive environment:


  1. Avoid judgment: When your child expresses their emotions, avoid judging or criticizing them. Instead, validate their feelings and let them know that it's okay to feel the way they do.

  2. Be patient: Developing emotional intelligence takes time and practice. Be patient with your child as they learn how to recognize and manage their emotions.

  3. Use positive reinforcement: When your child expresses their emotions in a healthy way, praise and reinforce their behavior. This can help them feel motivated to continue practicing their emotional skills.


How to Model Emotional Intelligence for Your Child


As a parent, you are a role model for your child's emotional development. By modeling healthy emotional behavior, you can help your child learn how to manage their own emotions. Here are some tips for modeling emotional intelligence:


  1. Practice self-awareness: Be aware of your own emotions and how they impact your behavior. When you feel stressed or upset, take a moment to pause and reflect before reacting.

  2. Use "I" statements: When expressing your own emotions, use "I" statements to take responsibility for your feelings. For example, say "I feel frustrated" instead of "You're making me angry."

  3. Show empathy: When your child is upset, show empathy for their feelings. This can help them feel understood and supported.


A happy father with his happy children outside

Resources for Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child


There are many resources available to help you raise an emotionally intelligent child. Here are some resources to consider:


  1. Books: There are many books available that focus on emotional intelligence for children. Some popular titles include Dr. John Gottman's books Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child and What Am I Feeling? along with The Feelings Book by Todd Parr.

  2. Workshops and classes: Lots of community centers and groups for parents provide workshops and classes on understanding emotions for both parents and kids.

  3. Therapy: If you're feeling unsure about your child's emotional growth, it might be helpful to connect with a therapist who specializes in helping kids with their feelings. They can provide expert support for your child's unique needs.



Conclusion and Final Thoughts


Raising an emotionally intelligent child is an important part of parenting.


By teaching your child how to recognize and manage their emotions, you are helping them develop the skills they need to thrive in life.


Talking with your child about their feelings, creating a safe space for them to express their emotions, and modeling healthy emotional behavior are all essential for promoting emotional intelligence.


Remember, developing emotional intelligence takes time and practice, but with patience and support, your child can learn how to navigate their emotions with confidence and resilience.


So, start today by practicing emotion coaching phrases and creating a safe space for your child to express their emotions.


And don't forget to model healthy emotional behavior yourself! By doing so, you can help your child develop the emotional intelligence skills they need to succeed in life.


Check out our other posts for raising emotionally healthy, confident kids:





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All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.






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