Skip to content


5 Tips for How to Raise an Emotionally Intelligent Child

by Vannessa Rhoades 22 May 2024
5 Tips for How to Raise an Emotionally Intelligent Child

As parents, we strive to give our kids the best start in life, working hard to nurture strong, morally upright individuals who will lead fulfilling lives. Despite our best efforts, though, we may often question our parenting decisions and hope we're on the right track. Fortunately, there are concrete steps parents can take to raise children who are emotionally intelligent, well-balanced, and high achievers. 

Emotional intelligence, or the emotional quotient (EQ), is the ability to express and manage emotions effectively while respecting others' feelings. These skills, learnable at any age, are crucial in determining our children's success and happiness. Developing emotional awareness and the capacity to handle feelings better equips them to navigate life's complexities with confidence, intelligence, and overall well-roundedness.

The Advantages of a High EQ

Well-developed emotional intelligence offers numerous lifelong advantages for children, as supported by decades of research. Conversely, a low EQ can pose future challenges. These are just a few of the benefits of having a high EQ:

  • Elevated IQ: Children with higher emotional intelligence perform better on tests and achieve higher grades.
  • Enhanced relationships: A high EQ fosters conflict management and deeper friendships in childhood, extending to better personal and professional relationships in adulthood.
  • Lifelong success: A 2015 study in the American Journal of Public Health showed that a child's social and emotional skills in kindergarten can predict success throughout life, including higher chances of obtaining a college degree and securing full-time employment by age 25.
  • Mental health improvement: Individuals with a higher EQ are less prone to depression and other mental health issues.
5 Tips for How to Raise an Emotionally Intelligent Child

Strategies for How to Raise an Emotionally Intelligent Child

The benefits of a well-developed EQ are unmistakable. A child capable of self-calming in challenging situations and expressing emotions healthily is more likely to thrive. The encouraging news is that all children can develop emotional intelligence with the guidance of caring adults. Here are a few ways to help them.

1. Demonstrate empathy for your little one.

When your child is upset (especially if their emotions appear exaggerated), it might be tempting to downplay their feelings. However, brushing them off or making dismissive comments can convey the message that their emotions are invalid. A more effective approach is to acknowledge and empathize with their feelings, even if you don't fully comprehend the reason for their distress. For instance, if your child is upset because they can't have a particular toy, express understanding: “I feel sad and frustrated when I can't have what I want, too. Sometimes it even makes me feel angry.” By showing your child that you “get it,” they’re less likely to express their feelings through disruptive behavior. Instead of resorting to screaming and crying, they'll find relief knowing you acknowledge and understand their upset feelings.

2. Help them Identify their emotions.

Kids need help to understand and recognize their emotions. Assist your child in this process by verbally labeling their emotions, focusing on the feelings you suspect they are experiencing. When your child is angry or frustrated, whether from having to stop playing or not getting what they want, you can say, “It seems like you're feeling really mad right now. Is that right?” If they seem distraught, you might ask, “Are you feeling upset because we're not going to the park today?” Try to use emotional words like "angry," "upset," "nervous," and "sad" to help build a vocabulary for expressing feelings. Don't overlook positive emotions; include words such as "happy," "excited," "thrilled," and "hopeful" to ensure a well-rounded emotional vocabulary.

3. Teach healthy ways of dealing with emotions.

As children learn to better understand what they’re feeling, they’ll also need help learning healthy coping mechanisms. Managing emotions, whether calming down, finding joy, or confronting fears, can be challenging for children. It helps to teach specific techniques. For instance, guide them in taking deep breaths to calm their anger, using a kid-friendly approach like "bubble breaths"—inhaling through the nose and exhaling as if blowing through a bubble wand.

You can also help your child in putting together a “calm-down kit” for emotional regulation. Include items like crayons and paper, a funny book, relaxing music, and pleasantly scented lotions. Engaging their senses with these tools can help soothe strong emotions. The next time they’re feeling upset, remind them to access their kit and practice using these tools to manage their emotions.

ANB Baby Recommends Land of Dough Glitter Play Dough Roll

Land of Dough Glitter Play Dough Roll helps build imaginations and strengthen social skills through a fabulous tactile play experience with vibrantly colored dough inspired by classic themes and magical places that all kids will love. Land of Dough® is made of all-natural dough and colors, compostable glitters, and calming essential oils in eco-friendly packaging. 

Land of Dough Glitter Play Dough Roll, -- ANB Baby

Land of Dough Glitter Play Dough Roll

4. Demonstrate proper expression of emotions.

Children need help learning socially acceptable ways of expressing their emotions. While saying, "I’m sad," or drawing an angry picture can be constructive, behaviors like shouting and tossing toys around are not acceptable.

The most effective way to teach your child appropriate expression of feelings is by displaying these skills yourself. Integrate emotion-related words into your daily conversations and engage in discussions about them. Share statements like, "I feel frustrated when I have to wait in a long line," or "I feel excited that we get to visit Grandma’s house today!" Research indicates that parents with well-developed emotional intelligence are more likely to have emotionally intelligent children. Therefore, practice sharpening your own EQ skills, ensuring that you serve as an effective role model for your child.

5. Coach them on problem-solving.

Building emotional intelligence includes developing the ability to solve problems. After addressing and labeling feelings, the next step is to focus on resolving the underlying issue. For example, if your child is frustrated that the dog keeps knocking over their building blocks, guide them in coming up with at least five potential solutions. Simply brainstorm ideas without worrying about whether they’re good or bad. Once they've identified multiple solutions, assist them in weighing the pros and cons of each option. Encourage them to choose the most suitable solution.

When your child makes mistakes, collaborate with them on alternative solutions and how they might address any other issues that pop up. Try not to solve the problem for them. Instead, offer suggestions when needed, emphasizing that they possess the capability to address problems peacefully and effectively on their own.

5 Tips for How to Raise an Emotionally Intelligent Child

The Bottom Line on Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children

Parenting is a continuous and demanding role. By taking these simple steps, you can nurture children who are intelligent, confident, and adept at navigating life's complexities with ease and self-assurance. As your child faces obstacles growing up, try to continually integrate skill-building into their daily routine. Talk to them about how they’re feeling every day when they’re little. Explore the emotions of characters in books or movies, discussing alternative problem-solving strategies or ways characters could show respect. As your child matures, transition to conversations about real-life situations—whether from their daily experiences or issues highlighted in the news. Maintain this ongoing dialogue. View your child's mistakes as opportunities for growth. When they display anger or hurt someone's feelings, have conversations about how they can improve. With consistent support and guidance, your child can develop the emotional intelligence and mental resilience essential for success in life.

Shop All Toys


Join Our Mailing List

Sign Up for exclusive updates,
new arrivals & insider-only discounts
Prev Post
Next Post

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Recently Viewed

Edit Option
is added to your shopping cart.
this is just a warning
Login Close