How to Develop Your Child's Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

by Susan Dunn

You've heard the phrase "IQ is what gets you through school. EQ is what gets you through life" Well, not only is the State interested in educating your child, but you're probably doing lots of enrichment activities at home. But what have you been doing for that all-important EQ, Emotional Intelligence? It's a better indicator of future success than IQ, it matters more to health and happiness, and it can be learned.

So how would you begin?

First look to yourself. You've been teaching EQ all along. Now you're going to get mindful about it. Every single interaction with your child is about EQ.

Start by taking The EQ-Map® yourself ( ) and work with a certified EQ coach on your deficits. You can't teach you child what you don't know.

Next, start reading to your child from The Children's EQ Reading List. It's designed to raise your child's EQ.

Order the eBook, "Developing Your Child's EQ: A Practical How-to Guide" - . You'll have a practical HOW-TO, step-by-step section and instructions. You'll also find exercises, games, toys, books, and activities you and your child can enjoy together, including our own line of emotionally intelligent toys, all based on solid scientific research.

Next, read about the Marshmallow Test (Goleman, Ph.D.). When administered to a 4 year old it's a solid predictor of future success and happiness!'s_emotional_intelligence.htm ..

Design an exercise that help your child learn to wait for things, to handle disappointment and to persevere with a challenge. Children learn best with "just-manageable" increments.

For instance, an age-appropriate challenge for your 4-year-old might be dressing herself in the morning (before she gets breakfast). Show and train for cause and effect - she does something and something else happens. This is Personal Power!

What toys will help your child increase her EQ? I should let you know upfront I'm the tin can and cardboard box type of Nana. With EQ it's all "around" the toy, not what the toy is so much. You could bake together, or have a conversation and teach/learn more, especially if the TV is TURNED OFF.

I think the Brainy Baby Videos, Left and Right Brain, and Children of the World Sewing Cards from GeniusBabies are great: . Also their Band-in-a-Box: .

I'm also quite serious about the cardboard box. Also have around a pan and metal spoon for drumming, paper for making airplanes, always construction paper, scissors, glue, markers and pens. A sandbox. A large supply of something group-oriented, like legos or Lincoln logs.

My "Learn EQ One-Day-at-a-Time Picture Calendar for Children" is multi-level learning, as are all toys I recommend. Your child will learn the concept of a page a day—time, and also a tip, graphically illustrated, about emotions.

Our Gardening Kit which includes child-sized tools, apron, seeds and watering can.'s_emotional_intelligence.htm Borrowing from the Montessori method, I agree that children love "work" and consider it "play." Any time you can find child-sized tools similar to what you use, they'll enjoy it - a small broom and dust pan, for instance, of a child-sized tray for carrying dishes away from the table.

Be sure and preserve the dignity of the occasion. Children have great dignity and we so often affront it. They know a plastic yellow and red fake wheelbarrow is not a real tool, for real work, like Dad has. Look around for tools which honor a child's desire to do what Mom and Dad do. Check my website from time-to-time as I'm always on the lookout. Also challenge your child to create what they need, i.e., "What could we use for a dustpan to pick up this dirt?" Maybe they'll come up with a piece of cardboard, or a spatula.

I think every child should have the chance to learn to read holistically. While reading is generally taught phonetically in school, a right-brained child can have real trouble with that method. Try the Language Discovery Flash Cards: . They work well whichever brain "orientation" your child has, and can be a lifesaver for the right-brained child.

Every child should have the chance to learn another language. That's what makes us realize our own language. GeniusBabies has great "First 1000 Words in ___" series - Russian, German, French, Spanish, Japenese and Italian. Go here: .

Provide costumes, hats, heels, gloves helmets, etc. for imagination play. You don't have to buy a costume, but there are some good ones here: This one, Cinderella, for instance, when your daughter is playing in that costume you'll learn a lot of things about how she feels because of the fairytale itself. Be listening!

Emotional Intelligence starts with self-awareness, and the ability to express emotion. A great way to foster this is to get your child the EQ t-shirt:'s_emotional_intelligence.htm . It' s says "I'm learning EQ. R U?" so it's a conversation-starter, which is what EQ is all about. And as you listen to your child reply to the person who asks, "What's EQ?" you'll see what kind of progress you're making and if your child is like my little buddies, they'll come up with some great descriptions which will help your understanding.

There are lots of activities in my eBook. Here's one example, an Emotional Expression Exercise. Identify and label your child's feelings as they occur in her and in others, including yourself. Use basic words such as angry, sad, happy and tired. Add nuances as the months go by - petulant, enraged, livid, seething, ecstatic, annoyed . . . it's a win-win. Your child has a great EQ and also does well on the Verbal SAT.

Also actively teach your child about "nonverbal." When another child is pouting, or stomping her feet, or kicking the furniture, say, "Look, Miguel is angry. He's stomping his foot." When you're tired and you sigh, say, "I sigh when I'm tired. When I'm tired, I need to rest."

Be sure and offer your child peace and quiet. Allow for quiet time in their room, trips to the library, and soft dinner conversation. Loud toys, activities and environments are vexatious to the spirit - of young and old alike.

Most of all, make feelings welcome in your house. All feelings.

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About the Author

Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, . Susan offers coaching, distance learning courses, and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your personal and professional development. She also trains and certifies EQ coaches. Free ezine: Get Daily EQ tips; send a blank email to

You too can get in this field (dubbed "white hot" by the press) now before it's crowded, and offer your clients something of real value. Start tomorrow, no residence requirement, global student body. Email for prospectus. Business programs - .

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