How to educate children’s emotions, in 3 keys (and advantages)

Emotional intelligence is one of those concepts that we forget and miss when considering how we educate our children. This concept, developed by psychologists such as Daniel Goleman, considers the emotional and introspective facet of particular interest as children grow up in good psychological and relationship health.

however, in a few families and educational institutions, sufficient effort is devoted to educating children’s emotions. Whether due to a lack of time, limited resources, or a stiffened educational program in the past, emotions have been looked down upon and our children grow up without certain educational guidelines that help them improve self-control, l self-esteem, assertiveness or the way you interact and communicate with other people.

How to educate emotions? Several psychological keys

Over the past decades, more and more parents and schools have realized the vital importance of children’s emotional state to their academic performance and happiness.

Therefore, What psychological and educational keys can we use to improve the emotional state of children? We review them below.

1. Value the process and not so much the result

Sometimes adults are too focused on our children’s performance: what marks they get in their exams, what is their IQ level, how they compare to other classmates … This attitude makes them dependent on the resulting praise, and sends them a totally wrong message: the value of the activity they perform depends on their ability to solve it correctly.

In the case of advantaged children and those who are good at problem-solving (who are not necessarily the smartest or those who will have a brighter future), they are positively empowered for their success, but are rarely valued. performed to achieve this result. In this way, they are also taught that the enjoyment of the activity is completely secondary, because the important thing is that they were able to solve the problem. As we can see, this is not a good strategy.

Additionally, in children with divergent thinking and / or having a harder time solving problems, they are also instilled with the idea that they are not able to be successful, which can lead to a Pygmalion effect. They are also not conveyed the importance of enjoying the thought process and the task, because the only important thing is to get an objectively correct result.

To avoid this outcome-oriented pattern, it is advisable to focus on the thinking process, motivating the student to adapt the pieces of the puzzle, and giving them the necessary attention and feedback (and not excessive) so that he himself will discover the path that will lead you to the right result.

2. Play emotional introspection games

Something as simple as playing to guess and define other people’s emotions can help children recognize, identify and reflect on anger, rage, guilt, shame, joy …

There are different activities and games that pursue this goal in one way or another.. As parents (or teachers) we can rely on these games to ask the little ones when such emotions were felt, how exactly they felt, what provoked them, how they returned to normal, etc. .

3. Relaxation

Relaxation allows children to momentarily disconnect from the infinity of stimuli they receive and reconnect with their breathing, their body, their muscles, their beats … It is a technique which, when used well, gives them great cognitive, emotional and behavioral benefits..

In fact, many schools are already setting up relaxation sessions. These sessions have great advantages, as reported by this study from the University of Valladolid led by Beatriz Peón.

What are the benefits of emotional education?

Emotional learning has a number of benefits for our children and students. This gives them certain psychological tools to build a much more positive view of their life, of themselves and of their environment. It also helps them deal with their fears and conflicts.

Children who develop good emotional intelligence are able to:

  • Increase your resilience, that is, recover from obstacles and bad feelings that you feel at any given moment.

  • Have an optimistic but moderate view of your possibilities.

  • Be more proactive, get more involved in your tasks and develop new interests.

  • Express their emotions in a way that makes them better able to cope with relationship and personal challenges.

  • Promote good self-esteem and self-confidence.

  • Be more cooperative and better manage conflicts and group requests.

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