In the past, particular emphasis was placed on the development of one’s IQ rather than EQ, also known as emotional intelligence.

However, over the years and after many important developments in psychology, it has been discovered that nurturing your child’s emotional intelligence has far greater benefits in the long run.

Social-emotional development - Preschool Cape Town

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is one’s ability to be aware of one’s emotions, as well as to control and express them with confidence. It also encompasses one’s ability to relate to others with empathy.

Social-emotional intelligence and early childhood development

Your child begins to develop a sense of self as well as the world around them from the moment they are born.

By building a trusting, loving connection with your child, you build the foundation for their developmental milestones.

Paying attention to social and emotional development throughout all the child developmental stages will help them build their confidence and overall cognition.

Social development focuses on our ability to interact with others while emotional development looks at the regulation and expression of emotions.

Both of these will influence the way in which your child perceives themselves as well as the world around them.

There are studies which suggest that people with a higher EQ tend to be more successful than those with a high IQ.

A high EQ allows our children to develop strong, healthy interpersonal relationships, communicate with confidence and use practical thinking for problem-solving.

Furthermore, there are studies which show that healthy social-emotional development is linked to academic success.

Evidence suggests that a high number of adults lack emotional intelligence which strongly points towards many of our social issues we face in society today.

Children with well-developed social-emotional skills have shown to:

  • Pay closer attention during class
  • Cooperate willingly
  • Be more motivated to learn
  • Get along well with their peers

If these factors are given enough attention from a young age, they are carried forward all the way into adulthood.

How to improve emotional intelligence in your child

You are your child’s very first role model so it’s up to you to do what you can to nurture them. A child’s environment has a bigger impact on their development than genetic make-up.

Therefore, giving them a loving environment where they feel safe and supported, carries immeasurable value.

  • Allow your child to play with other children their age and encourage them to safely explore their environment and the people in it
  • Make sure you portray kind and respectful behaviour while interacting with other adults and children
  • Spend time with your child, play with them, hug them and read to them. Quality time helps build a strong bond of love and trust between you and your child
  • Encourage your child to try new things and when they have accomplished something, allow them to see that you are pleased with them
  • Help your child see what he or she is capable of, even if it means they must try a few times before succeeding
  • Express your own feelings in a controlled, mature way. When they see that you are happy or sad, they are able to develop empathy towards others
  • Acknowledge your child’s feelings and allow them to talk about how they are feeling. This gives you an opportunity to help your child understand and process their feelings in a healthy manner
  • Daily routines help your child feel secure while providing a structured environment. Although routine is important, allow some space for flexibility

It’s hard to emphasise the importance of providing your child with a safe, loving environment.

This is arguably the most important responsibility you could ever have as a parent. A strong foundation will lead to a successful, healthy and happy adult who is able to function in society with confidence.

Kay-Dee Educare Centre Mowbray

At Kay-Dee we understand the importance of teaching emotional intelligence in school and incorporate EQ exercises into our daily curriculum. Contact us to find out more about our programmes.