A small child’s day is an emotional roller-coaster. Feelings flare and emotions erupt so strongly that it can confuse both child and adult.
From the first seconds of their lives babies express their emotions through simple responses like crying and smiling, but before long, parents are faced with a spontaneous, over-excited, shy, bogey-man fearing toddler with a very short fuse. Emotions are always with us and they guide everything we do. Learning emotional skills should be an everyday exercise for all of us.
A child learns emotional intelligence by observing and mimicking those around them. They must not be left alone with their feelings – an adult’s job is to support the child by naming emotions, explaining how they might make a child feel, where they come from and how to live with them. Why do you feel anger throughout your whole body? How can you stop feeling sad and start feeling better?
When you talk about emotions, the child starts to be able to identify their feelings and learns the vocabulary to describe them. Emotions become understandable and therefore easier to control. If you can express your feelings with words, you can help others understand without needing to get physical.
In time, the child learns to see how their actions affect others and how to take other people’s feelings into account. These are invaluable skills for all social encounters throughout life!