The importance of learning emotional intelligence in the early years cannot be stressed enough. Research has shown a child regulating and understanding their own feelings in the early years leads to educational and career success, healthier relationships, mental wellness, and positive social behavior.
“In the last decade or so, science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives. Researchers have found that even more than IQ, your emotional awareness and abilities to handle feelings will determine your success and happiness in all walks of life, including family relationships.” John Gottman, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child
Mood charts are an easy, engaging way for kids to express and articulate their feelings – and begin to learn core ways of applying emotional intelligence. A great mood chart for little one’s to use is below. Feel free to download and print out!
When filling out any mood/emotion chart, ask them questions!
“Why do you feel happy right now?
"Why do you feel angry?”
“What do you think this face is feeling?”
It is okay if they don’t have an answer! Asking these questions will let them begin to process and link how they feel to the actions or situations they experience. Feel free to lead by example. “I feel happy when I am with my family.” Or “I am anxious when I am late for work.”
Be sure to never neglect how your child is feeling. If a kid’s feelings are not validated, they may begin to suppress how they feel, leading to an unhealthy path into adulthood. Suppressing emotions is not only mentally unhealthy but physically damaging. The key is to let the child accept how they feel and then exercise healthy techniques on how to express and cope with their feelings. If a child can begin to accept and healthily deal with how they feel, instead of disregard or act out, they will have the beginning foundations to emotional intelligence and great success in the future and into adulthood.
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