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Emotional Intelligence (EI): Why it matters as much as IQ

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As parents, we look forward to our children’s report card with a mixture of anticipation and apprehension. We eagerly scan their grades and feel either excitement and pride or concern and frustration. We tend to focus on their academic performance as an indicator of their intelligence, and as the only indicator of their future success.

But there’s considerable research to prove that when it comes to success, EI or Emotional Intelligence is as much, if not more important, than IQ.

According to an article in Forbes “85 percent of your financial success is due to skills in ‘human engineering,’ your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead.”

So, what exactly is EI?

Emotional Intelligence (EI) or social intelligence is the process by which children learn to recognize, understand and manage their emotions.

Children with well-developed EI are able to communicate well, develop strong relationships, find solutions in tricky situations and exhibit good relationship skills. They will be more empathetic and compassionate when they grow up, engage more easily with others and have greater self-awareness.

Can we teach our children Emotional Intelligence?


Some children are naturally more in tune with their emotions and can deal with new or different situations more easily. But even in children with a lower EI, it’s a skill that can be fostered from a young age. All children need nurturing and support as they go through the minefield of emotional experiences as they grow.

The way to do it is to understand the five components used to assess Emotional Intelligence, and how we can cultivate each of them in our children.

EI component Signs of a high EI Cultivating EI
1. Self-Awareness:

The ability to understand and be aware of feelings and moods.

Differentiates their emotions and identifies subtle differences of intensity; distinguishes among moods, emotions and feelings.

  • Participate in their fantasy play, where they can express their emotions.
  • Help them choose the right words to express their feelings.


2. Managing Emotions:

The ability to display emotions in a socially acceptable manner.

Is aware of what might produce emotions; exercises restraint and uses various self-control techniques.

  • Praise them when they play well with other children.
  • Praise them for feeding, dressing himself.
3. Self-Motivation:

The ability to use emotions to reach desired goals.

Adapts to the world around them by consciously reframing thinking and restructuring tasks accordingly.

  • Offer positive encouragement.
  • Reward intentions, not results.
  • Encourage them to try new activities.
4. Empathy:

The ability to understand how another person feels.

Recognises unexpressed feelings and moods in others.

  • Teach them to share toys with other children.
  • Set rules against bullying.
5. Social Skills:

The ability to deal with others’ emotions and to behave appropriately in social situations.

Possesses a wide range of abilities such as leadership, teamwork, friendship, taskmaster and gatekeeper skills.

  • Make time for play groups with other toddlers.
  • Remind them to use words, not violent actions to resolve disputes with playmates.
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