Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, to control and to express one's emotions in a calm, healthy and balanced way. It refers to the ability to identify and manage one's own emotions, as well as the emotions of others, by expressing one’s own feelings as well as respecting other people’s feelings as well. Emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success. For children, this is a very important aspect of their development into being rational, tolerant and emotionally balanced adults. With practice, children improve their capacity for emotional self-regulation. By age four, most children start to use strategies to eliminate disturbing external stimuli. In other words, they cover their eyes when they’re scared and plug their ears when they hear a loud noise. Usually these emotions express themselves in unhealthy ways later on in life if the child does not learn to express how they are feeling, by communicating how they are feeling and what they are going through.
It is not until age ten that children consistently use more complex strategies for emotional self-regulation. These strategies can be broken down into two simplistic categories: those that attempt to solve the problem and those that attempt to tolerate the emotion, such as crying or responding with anger for not being heard. When anger is learned in this way, this usually turns into much unhealthier releases later on in life.. Teaching children emotional intelligence encompasses creating awareness, understanding of themselves and what they are going through internally by developing the ability in them to express themselves. Healthy emotional expression comes in the forms of communication, art, dance, crying, spending time in nature, hug therapy, journaling, and other creative ways.
While the world has been focused on academic achievement in childhood, emotional self-regulation has been largely ignored. This is a poor strategy, given that research suggests emotional intelligence is twice as strong a predictor as IQ of later success. We focus on teaching children healthy forms of emotional expression through identifying and expressing their emotions through clear, non-confrontational verbal communication, writing, journaling, creative art expression, dance, movement and meditation as healthy ways for cultivating emotional intelligence. This creates happier, positive, productive and balanced inner states of being for the individual children, their families. Ultimately the entire communities benefit, as everyone is connected and part of each other’s lives.