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by Aubrey Wursten


Taming the innately wild animal in a preschooler can be daunting. Thankfully, with a basic understanding of emotional intelligence (EQ) concepts, you and your child or student can each improve your emotional and social problem-solving aptitude. (Of course, your stellar ability was never in question.) Surprisingly, your temperamental pygmy monkey can indeed grow into a more cheerful specimen, and you may even find yourself confronted with an adorable tyke closely resembling a human being.


As Deborah Farmer Kris notes in MindShift, the rewards of EQ encouragement are both immediate and long lasting. She explains how, by forming the following habits, you can anticipate fewer smashed crayons today and a more successful life later.


Name Emotions


Children have limited verbal skills, but endless physical tantrum skills. Adults can assist children in putting their feelings into words (which rarely result in expensive lamps being broken).


Normalize Emotions


Kris points out that emotions themselves “should not be classified as good or bad.” We all get upset. By sharing our own experiences with difficult feelings, we can help children to feel less afraid of emotions that seem overwhelming.


Develop Strategies


Unless you are comfortable with the idea of living in a cave, you are undoubtedly going to encounter situations that trigger unpleasant feelings. (Even the cave home might drip water on your new leaf sculpture. These things happen.) Plan ahead together to utilize constructive coping mechanisms.


“Read” Pictures


Picture books can beautifully illustrate emotions. Look through some of your favorites, and use them as springboards for discussion. (You don’t have to pretend you don’t love these preschool-level reads. Your secret is safe with us.)


Practice Mindfulness


Although it began in Buddhism, mindfulness has become popular in schools and therapy offices alike. Help your child to relax his or her mind and body, and just focus on sensations. After a minute, discuss those sensory experiences.

Simple, right? EQ need not be complicated. Rather, an increase in emotional intelligence is the natural result of consistent study and effort.


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