Parenting can be a rollercoaster ride. As parents, we are always on the edge about whether we are doing enough for our children or not. We try to fulfil every need, give them the best education, and make sure they stay fit and healthy.
One thing that most parents tend to ignore, or are unaware of, is cultivating emotional skills in their children. Raising an emotionally intelligent child is as important as raising a physically healthy one. As such, teaching emotional skills to kids should be a top priority for all parents.
What are emotional skills?
Emotional skills are the tools and techniques that help us manage our emotions and cope healthily when life throws challenges at us. Ups and downs are bound to be a part of life and while we cannot get rid of inconveniences that our children might have to face, we can always prepare them for the precarious world they are about to step into.
Not all skills are appropriate for all ages or even for all children. There are certain emotional skills that children learn on their own as they grow up. By teaching our children a range of skills that they can freely explore and experiment with, we can help them figure out the ones that work best.
We have a list of emotional skills that every parent should teach their child for them to succeed in school, work, and life.
Emotional regulation is the ability to recognise our emotions and develop the emotional capacity to manage our emotions. As a skill, we need to teach our children how to identify their feelings and cope with such emotions in safe, healthy, and effective ways.
Achieving Balance, not Perfection
The skill that can help children learn to tackle their emotions before they reach a ‘bubbling point’, is one of achieving balance instead of perfection. In today’s world, which is growing more competitive by every second, balancing energy levels can be tricky.
When our children feel stressed, we should help them identify such feelings and instruct them to reduce the number of planned activities for the day. This will help them learn how to prioritise tasks and not chase perfection in everything they do.
Loving oneself is the starting point of all successful relationships in life, but we are never taught its importance as a child. Parents should invest their time and energy in teaching children self-kindness, acceptance, and positive self-talk.
Without a strong, positive sense of self, it can be difficult for children to navigate through the challenges that life brings. This makes it essential to nurture a self-love culture in the home early on.
In an increasingly competitive world, taking breaks can be a tough thing to remember. Nevertheless, regular breaks are important to keep us motivated and healthy.
Parents should encourage children to take breaks in between study hours, weaving in creative playtime or storytime in between. This will create a mindset to prioritise breaks later in work and life in general, especially when they are stressed.
Spoon feeding questions and answers at school isn’t an effective way to teach children problem-solving skills. This can lead to inconveniences later in life when they are faced with adversities that need a calm and clear mind to deal with the problem.
There are a lot of techniques including mind-mapping, breaking problems into small parts, and trial and error, that parents can work through with their children. These can increase children’s confidence and resilience and prepare them for challenges in life.
Implementing acceptable and healthy boundaries can be tricky because we need to measure and balance a lot of things before making a decision. Parents should teach what boundaries meanwhile practising and their importance.
There isn’t always a defining line between discipline and boundaries. When making decisions that push a child’s boundaries, parents need to explain and reason their point. It only ensures that they respect their children’s boundaries.
Asking for Help
While young children are prompt at asking for help, as they grow up and become independent, it can become tougher. Asking for support invokes a sense of reliance on others and most of us prefer to be autonomous.
As parents, we should teach our children that asking for help is normal and often necessary. When children come to their parents for help, the right response is crucial in building the nature of asking for help. It is important to make our children feel heard and empowered when they seek help.
Let's Wrap Up!
While teaching emotional skills to children, parents ought to remember that they must practice what they preach. Otherwise, all efforts can go in vain. Parents should also be aware of the fact that it is not possible to protect a child from difficult situations, we can only offer them support and guidance.
Building emotional skills in children is an aspect of parenting that requires trial and error. No parent is perfect, but as long as we keep trying, the effort itself can significantly change how well-prepared our children are for the world outside!