Do you get upset and embarrassed when your child screams or melts down in public places? Though as parents our first reaction is to get irritated and give an unpleasant reaction, it’s important to remember that our children are still growing as emotional beings. We have to understand that every reaction from us counts to shaping their emotional intelligence.
The other day, I was reading about how emotional intelligence has an important role to play in the development of children. Experts say that it is as important or even more important than intelligence. It made me think about the emotional development of my child and if I am doing my best to understand my child emotionally.
Understanding emotional development
While researching emotional development, I came across the five-step rule labeled as RULER thumb rule by Marc Brackett who is director of Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence.
- Recognizing – Check if your kid can recognize their feelings and desires.
- Understanding – Is your kid able to understand the source of feeling and the underlying reason?
- Labeling – Labeling or marking each feeling to a name is important. Like SAD, HAPPY, ANGRY.
- Expressing – Now how he/she narrates or expresses the feeling to you.
- Regulating Emotion – How the kid regulates the emotion in a diplomatic or synchronized way based on social acceptance.
It is supposed to work well among kids who are optimally developed and thus do better in academics, social interaction, and career success. In the long run, they are less aggressive and take measured decisions.
Boosting emotional development with nutrition
The foundation of good emotional and general intelligence lies in a fully-formed brain with the right dose of nutrition. As children see maximum brain growth during the initial years, it is important that their brain gets all the nutrition it needs. A nutrient called Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is particularly important as it acts as the building block of the brain. This omega-3 fatty acid is found in cold water fish, fish oil and some seeds. However, DHA might not be absorbed in required quantities from a regular diet.
To make sure my child gets the required dose of DHA, I have chosen to give her a daily dose of Enfagrow A+. This fortified food has the required amount of DHA and is also rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and calcium.
This nutrient matters to enhance the expansion of the cerebral cortex which is tied to intelligence and emotion control in a human being.
In a study, researchers studied two 2 groups of toddlers. One group of toddlers was given a supplemental dose of DHA while the other one was not. After six months. a psychometric test was conducted with activities such as running, painting, chess, movie watching, and narration. The study found that the group with supplemental DHA scored better on the following parameters:
- Expression of emotion
- Better narrating capacity
- Control on brain- control anger, aggression, remorse, and pain
- Steady and fitness.
It’s not surprising as DHA controls help develop parts of the brain tied with the following abilities:
What can a parent do to ensure emotional development
Along with the right nutrition, how do you help your child develop emotionally through everyday interactions? To begin with, teach an emotional strategy to your child and stick to it. Help your child become independent in recognizing and coming to terms with emotions.
Recognize negative thoughts and emotion of your kid and connect those
Negative emotions can be a teaching moment. You can use them to connect, heal, develop and shape. It is hard for a kid to g control over their desires and emotion. Listen with patience, show empathy, be supportive. Use words like “I understand your reason for being angry” or “I can feel your disappointment”. When you start using such terms, children feel confident and open up easily. Do not be judgmental. Let them put a word to their emotion and justify it with meaning.
Set limits and help them sort themselves
You can direct your kids to become emotionally autonomous. Sometimes this can mean setting limits on how they choose to become. For example, you can teach your kids that being disrespectful to anyone is not acceptable. This can help them find an alternative way out of their emotional struggle. Teach them moral values through everyday examples. This should be done from the very beginning.
Do not underestimate or offend your child by criticizing or overpowering. Be gentle and empathetic. Open up your mind and have an open line of communication. After all, you want your kids to be the best version of themselves.
© Ruchi Verma
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Disclaimer – This article is an advisory piece. Before you manipulate your diet habit kindly consult a medical practitioner or nutritionist.
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