Emotions are a huge part of our lives, intertwined with our cognition, affecting our bodily systems, shaping our relationships with ourselves as well as others.

Everything we do and think has an emotional aspect to it.

There are some different theories about emotion, and even if they differ somewhat, researchers agree on some common features of emotion:

Emotions are felt in the body

Awareness of the body is a huge step towards Emotional intelligence (EQ), because emotions affect our body and our body affects our emotions in many ways. Focusing on the actual feeling in our body may help us notice the subtle changes of the feeling, which in turn may help us to manage or enjoy the feeling.

Emotions inform us and give us cues

Emotions and reason or cognition are not separate, but intertwined and dependent. Emotions are not good or bad in themselves, but like a road map, telling us where we stand, where we want to go and what we wish to avoid. EQ is about being able to read that map to know ourselves and the terrain.

We interpret emotion differently

We humans are different, and at the same time, alike. Across the world, we all feel emotions and we can understand each other’s emotions. But my understanding of your emotion is always based on my understanding of the emotion. EQ is acknowledging this lens, through which the understanding transpires.

Previous experiences and context influence emotion

All our experiences, even our language and vocabulary, build and shape our emotional lives, from before we’re born till the day we die. The different contexts, situations we’re in, are unique and present to us possibilities to make new choices. That is why it’s never too late to learn how to live a more joyful life, but the earlier we start the better, which is why the gift of EQ is one of the best gifts we can give our children!

Emotions are relatively short-lived

Emotions come and go, sometimes so fast we don’t even recognize them, and sometimes they linger for what is felt as an eternity. However, emotions always change. EQ is accepting the rise and fall of emotions, the variation, and learning to not internalize the emotions.

We develop emotionally throughout our lives, but the foundation is laid during our childhood years

Several factors influence children’s emotional development, such as the child’s temperament, the social environment, and culture.

Children differ in how intensely they feel emotions, react to them, and how quickly their emotions change, but when it comes to emotional development, some important features are shared:

Attachment relationships set the base for the child’s emotional development

It is never too late to build a nurturing relationship with your child that supports their emotional needs and gives them confidence and skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.

Language and vocabulary are important for developing emotional intelligence

We make sense of the world and connect to others mainly through our language. Having more words for the sensations we feel in our body and becoming familiar with describing various situations, we can expand our world and enhance our connection to others. The way we talk about emotions also shapes our understanding of emotions.

Children can understand emotions quite as well as adults

Preschool children can understand causes, such as intentions, beliefs, and desires behind emotions. School children learn to understand mixed emotions, social feelings, and the complexity of personal history and rules as influencing emotions. Children need guidance to develop more complex understanding.

Children can learn to manage emotions quite as well as adults

First, children need help from adults to reflect on the link between emotion and behavior, and they need good models as well as practice of different ways to manage emotion. This leads to children learning to self-reflect and also self-regulate in a healthier way. They just need a bit more time than adults.

Healthy emotional development requires healthy food, sleep, and exercise

A healthy, balanced diet, sufficient qualitative sleep, and enough varied exercise, is essential for children’s (and parents’!) physical and psychological wellbeing. When these three factors are in balance and good enough, children are capable of being emotionally intelligent.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is defined as the ability to identify, understand, manage, and use emotions. As it is an ability, it is possible to develop

Developing emotional intelligence has several benefits. Since the 1990’s, when the term was conceived, a large body of research has examined the advantages of being emotionally intelligent:

Children’s wellbeing, school success and emotional intelligence goes hand in hand

Research shows that emotionally intelligent children are more socially competent and tend to be better at self-regulating behavior. Emotional intelligence is also linked to less internalized problems, such as depression and suicidal behavior, and less externalizing problems, such as aggressiveness. Moreover, emotional intelligence is also linked to better academic achievement.

As a parent/caregiver, you can help your child build emotional intelligence, and it is never too late

Today, many school-based interventions aim to teach children emotional intelligence or social-emotional skills, and they are also effective. However, learning these skills in school is probably not enough. The relationship between child and caregiver is very important for children’s development of emotional intelligence. Caregivers that show emotion, discuss and model effective emotion regulation strategies gives children the possibility to learn these skills.

Children learn best playing

Learning emotional intelligence does not have to be all serious and with a focus on problems. Children learn best by playing and when engaged, and that is why we have developed the EQJOY game and Emotion Explorer.

The card game makes the learning process personally relevant and offers the possibility for you to actively take part in the learning process. The Explorer allows for the exploration of the phenomenon from different angles. These are factors that really can enhance your learning.