For so long IQ (Intelligence quotient) was considered the benchmark of success. Parents were so focused on raising their kids to be the best, the smartest, the highest achievers.
Thankfully, these days we know these are of course important skills to have, but they’re really just a bonus. We know the real measure of a person’s success lies in their EQ or their emotional intelligence.
When it comes to raising little humans, what we should be striving for as parents is for them to be confident, resilient, compassionate and empathetic. To be both self-and socially aware. Basically, to be good humans.
So how do we nurture and develop these qualities in our children?
Connected Parenting expert Genevieve Muir helps parents learn about the importance of creating a secure attachment. This is the launchpad that makes your child feel safe and supported to then explore themselves and the world around them.
Gen’s 5 tips for nurturing your child’s EQ
Connection is really at the core of everything when it comes to creating a secure attachment with your child. Sit on the ground, connect with them through play. Just 10 minutes on the floor playing with LEGO® DUPLO® Vehicle sets can fill their cup and you’ll be amazed at how it can completely change their mood and overall well being.
Toddlers respond more to physical displays of affection rather than verbal at this age so don’t underestimate the power of touch – lots of hugs (and high fives, fist pumps and scruffing up their hair). You cannot spoil your child with too much affection.
We want our kids to know there are limits, this is a huge step in teaching social awareness in relationships. Too much freedom makes our children feel the opposite of free, and they often express their discomfort through limit-pushing behaviour. When they cross a line with us (their first and most important relationship) we need to set a boundary in a way that is loving, firm and kind. Making sure our children know boundaries is one of the highest forms of love there is.
3. Welcome BIG feelings
The biggest indicator of EQ will be a parents’ ability to welcome in all of our child’s emotions – not just the easier ones. To do this, we also need to do our own work, which emotions do I find hardest? Which ones do I struggle with the most?
When your child has a big uncomfortable emotion, it’s not our job to fix it or stop it, but rather to let them know that we hear them, we understand and we are there for them.
4. Meet your child where they are at
Treat your child with compassion, empathy and all the skills you want them to have. Modelling is one of the most important things you can do as a parent.
Always remember to take a deep breath and look at situations from their perspective. To us, a blue LEGO DUPLO brick instead of a red one is no big deal, but to them, it seems like the world might be ending. Let them know that it’s ok to be sad about that. It’s not ok to kick or throw the brick but it’s ok to feel what they are feeling.
5. Apologise when YOU get it wrong.
This is the best way to raise a child who can also say sorry. Showing them that it’s ok to make mistakes and that no one is perfect and we all get it wrong sometimes (this in itself is important).
But acknowledging for them that you got it wrong is incredibly powerful, no excuses, no “if you hadn’t thrown the brick.” Just a simple, “I’m sorry, mummy will try harder next time” is all it takes.
Raising our little ones to be emotionally intelligent requires us as parents to do the work and to also look within ourselves. Which isn’t always easy. Creating a secure attachment with our children is what gives them the foundation upon which all other learning will come. Children need to feel safe and supported to discover who they are and explore the world around them.
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