BOTHELL, Wash. — Nurturing emotional intelligence in children can be crucial for their success as they grow. An emotionally intelligent child is calm, confident, kind, curious and has self-control.
Dr. David Reuter of Allegro Pediatrics says two variables, teaching calm and providing security, are critical for young children.
“When we give our kids those two things, we find opportunities for them to grow and mature their emotional intelligence,” said Dr. Reuter.
Some of the strategies that both kids and adults can use to grow emotional intelligence include:
- Creating routine. Infants sometimes suck their thumbs. School-aged kids could hum a calming song, or adults can practice slow breathing.
- Having a safe, loving household. A parent’s hug or smile, a pet or a stuffed animal can provide security at home, so kids feel protection to be ambitious and adventurous. Adults may find safety in reading a book, taking a warm shower or spending time with a pet.
- Encouraging freedom. Kids learn confidence when they participate in school activities, play on teams or perform in recitals. These activities can help your kids find their natural interests.
“As kids grow up, you kind of go from telling them what to do as a toddler to inspiring them to do the right thing as an adolescent,” said Dr. Reuter. “When you model these traits, respect and forgiveness, in the relationship with our kids, our kids learn from that example.”
Emotional intelligence in a child can mature into character traits as kids grow older.
“Calm may mature into composure. Curiosity matures into courage. Persistence matures into perseverance. So, I think we’re laying the foundation to find out what’s special and unique about every one of us.”