HomeHealth & BehaviorEmotional Well-Being

Boost your youngster's emotional intelligence

IQ isn't everything! Six tips for strengthening your child's EQ.

By GreatSchools Staff

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The thinking behind EQ

In the midst of worrying about our kids' academic success, it's easy to lose sight of their emotional development. But research suggests a child's emotional intelligence is every bit as important as reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. Why? Because kids with a high emotional intelligence have mastered the other three Rs: responsibility, resilience, and respect.

Since they've developed more coping skills, these kids are more able to control their emotions and behavior when things don’t go their way. This in turn makes them happier, more self-confident, and more respectful of others. Not surprisingly, children with a high EQ (or emotional quotient) also tend to do better in school. They pay attention, easily take in information, stay motivated, and get along with teachers and classmates.

Is this just a matter of inborn temperament? Perhaps in some cases, yes. But research shows emotional intelligence can be taught. Students who have gone through school-based EQ training average 11 percentile points higher on academic test scores. As a parent, you can also teach your kid to handle challenging emotions like anger, sadness, and frustration. From books and toys to family games, here are seven creative ways to help your child become an EQ whiz kid.

Comments from readers

"This is a very interesting view on many levels. Are teachers ever trained to do this with students? I am curious, because if you are teaching emotional intelligence at home and you are explaining to your child if they are being hit or bullied to tell the teacher, what happens to that child when the teacher chooses not to recognize his or her complaint. For example, we have a first grade child that has been dealing with a bully on the playground. Every time she tells the staff yard duty , the simple reaction is to say that they did not see a thing. This is very frustrating. "