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The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Children

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

Consider these two scenarios: your child is having trouble zipping up her jeans. Instead of cursing and quitting, she expresses her frustration and asks for assistance. Another time, your child's classmate receives some bad news and cancels their scheduled visit to your house to work on math homework. Your child understands the reason for his friend's decision to stay home and makes other plans for the day.

Did you notice anything mind-blowing about these two situations? They may not appear to be significant. However, they are indicators of a key set of abilities called emotional intelligence (also known as EI or EQ). In these situations, we may expect a child to express their feelings in more explosive or unmanaged ways. Emotional intelligence is critical in assisting us to overcome obstacles and effectively respond to events. It also assists us in forming positive relationships with others.

Children's mental health and their home and school environments

Children might be exposed to a variety of challenges at school and at home, all of which can impact their mental health. They include:

● Neglect

● Assault

● Body-shaming

● Violence

● Seeing marital abuse

● Seeing parents or relatives in and out of prison

Changes in the home or school environments, such as divorce, teacher transfer, or death of a parent, classmate, or teacher, can also take a toll on a child's emotional and mental well-being.

Being exposed to trauma in childhood without the proper mental health support from family, friends, and professionals could lead to a lifelong battle that can be hard to overcome.

Detecting the Symptoms

A child may behave in various ways that indicate they are suffering or not integrating with their home or school setting. Teachers and parents ought to be aware of the following warning signs:

● Withdrawal from society

● Nightmares

● Panic attacks

● Insomnia

● Regressing in some way – behaviors such as bedwetting, obsessiveness, and baby talk are some of the red flags

● Becoming combative and short-fused

While this list is not exhaustive, these symptoms can help adults identify that a child may be facing an issue requiring support.

Emotional intelligence benefits the mental health of children!

Here are some of the different facets of emotional intelligence and how they might help your child's mental health.


Self-awareness enables your child to learn how others interpret their behaviors, when to use their strengths, how to manage their anger, and how to identify areas for change.

How self-awareness benefits your child's mental health:

● They become aware of their strengths and flaws

● They have a high sense of self-worth and confidence and won't hesitate to ask for what they want or need.

● They understand that how they see or evaluate themselves may differ from how others see or evaluate them.


Despite the unpredictability of their environment and feelings, self-regulation will help your child focus their behavior toward a goal.

Why is it necessary for your child to have self-regulation?

● They can control their emotions and actions in response to the situation at hand.

● When they're upset, the child will be able to control their emotions instead of exploding.

● The child will know when to take a breather and step back and refrain from making rash decisions.


When your child is empathic, they will understand and demonstrate sensitivity to the feelings of others. In addition, children who have acquired empathy find it easier to extend it to others.

What is the significance of empathy?

● An empathic child frequently does well in groups and can deal with obstacles (as a group) when they arise.

● The child will develop the required skills necessary to emotionally link and be attentive to others' feelings and thoughts.

● They'll make efforts to see things from another person's point of view.

Social skills

Social skills will assist the child in developing healthy and productive relationships in their social, private, and academic lives.

What role will social skills play in your child's mental development?

● The child will have decent manners and be able to converse effectively with others.

● The child will demonstrate sensitivity to their classmates, family, and friends' opinions and values.

● They can peacefully and politely articulate their concerns.

The bottom line

Children are much smarter and more intuitive than adults give them credit. It is important to instill emotional intelligence in them as early as possible to provide them with a solid foundation of resilience, self-love, confidence, and empathy that will serve them in all aspects of life.

If a child continuously shows signs of mental distress, they may require more assistance. It could include one-on-one or group counseling and collaboration with parents/caregivers, teachers, and school psychologists to assist them in coping and provide any other necessary support.

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