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Why emotional intelligence is crucial and how to foster it in children

In our radically different lockdown landscape, EI is more important than ever. Suzanne Harrington talks to the experts about how we can cultivate it in our children

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Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and socialisation are the main aspects of emotional intelligence

Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and socialisation are the main aspects of emotional intelligence

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Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and socialisation are the main aspects of emotional intelligence

Are you self aware? Can you regulate your feelings without them running away from you and taking over? Are you empathic? Can you communicate with others in a way that is neither domineering nor people pleasing, but effective and humane? You can? Great!

But how about your kids? And how about now, in our radically different lockdown landscape, when all our usual support systems and structures have been yanked and everything feels heightened and amplified yet restrictive and repetitive? Never has emotional intelligence been such a valuable asset, as its usually dominant rival - intellectual intelligence - takes an enforced back seat.

What matters now is the emotional well-being within families, so that we remain harmonious and sane in circumstances for which we have had little preparation or experience. For children, the ability to name what is going on around them and have an appropriate vocabulary to label any feelings this brings up is more helpful than pretending everything is business as usual, when it's clearly not.