Emotional Education in Children: Stages, Types and Methods
As parents, we must provide our children with a positive emotional learning experience that will give them all the necessary tools for life. Emotional education not only creates a healthy environment at home, it also helps children grow psychologically.
Parents can teach their children how to handle emotional situations properly. Joy, sadness, surprise, aversion, anger and affection are some of our most intense emotions. They’re capable of influencing our behavior from one minute to another.
It’s common for children to express their emotions in a more explosive and primitive way. That’s why it’s important to teach them how to channel their emotions to develop behavior that is socially acceptable. Their emotions should respect the implicit rules of coexistence.
When should emotional education begin
The sooner the better. However, keep your children’s age in mind in order to adjust their lessons to their abilities. Teaching children about emotions requires attentiveness, dedication, patience and perseverance.
Parents usually start teaching their children about emotions between the age of 1 and 2. This is a wise time to lay down the foundation for this important topic.
Children are like sponges, as a result, they absorb ideas, experiences and behaviors easily. Their ability to assimilate information is impressive. It’s important to take advantage of this stage to teach them how to behave.
Emotional education or education of any other kind, implies the implementation of diverse and flexible strategies that can adjust to different circumstances while having a specific goal in mind.
We don’t have to be the bad guys, we just have to take the time to make children understand how to manage their emotions correctly.”
Types of emotional education in children
As children grow, they experience new emotions and deep feelings. Emotional education can be divided into two main groups which are as follows:
- Associative learning consists of obtaining associations that ensure the recall of particular details by means of memorization.
- Cognitive learning consists of processing information through reasoning, allowing it to be stored easily.
What is emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize one’s emotions and feelings as well as those of others. It’s considered to be an essential tool when it comes to social integration and it involves the following skills:
- Being able to identify emotions and feelings.
- The ability to control impulses that arise from emotional responses according to the rules of coexistence and collective well-being.
- Being able to create or maintain interpersonal relationships.
Important aspects of emotional intelligence
- Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand others and what motivates them to act the way they do. It’s directly associated with empathy and understanding.
- Intra-personal intelligence is the ability to form a realistic and concrete model of one’s self by taking into account personal feelings which can later be used as a guide.
How to develop emotional intelligence
- Teach values. It’s important to instill fundamental values in children from an early age.
- Teach them to distinguish between good and bad in a simple and effective way.
- Show affection. When parents show affection to their children, they’re more likely to show affection to others.
- Set an example and maintain proper discipline.
- Show them their mistakes. Children should always be allowed to make their own mistakes. It’s also important to recognize their achievements.
- They should be taught to never be ashamed of expressing their feelings.
- Never impose an emotion as a “norm” – children should never be pressured to always be happy or neutral, etc.
It’s important to teach children that all emotions are natural and necessary. Each emotion plays a certain role and will help them face diverse situations in life.
That’s why it’s important for children to know that emotions shouldn’t be repressed, but rather they should be identified, accepted, learned from and managed correctly. Finally, emotional intelligence will guarantee healthy relationships and active participation in society.