You can teach your children to only cross the street when the light is green, to care for their pets, to read books and multiply numbers, even to recycle the waste you generate at home. But can you also teach them to express their feelings? To say the things that they feel out loud before they lock themselves in their room with a slamming door?
Education isn’t intended to simply fill an empty mind with knowledge and accumulate information. Teaching your children also includes other strategies to help them learn to be happy in this complex world, while also promoting the happiness of others. It’s important that you teach your children good values and emotional education every single day.
Given that schools have never integrated this subject into their academic curricula, it’s important that from a very young age you remember the following aspects of emotional education that we’d like to share with you.
How to develop your child’s emotional educationA child’s education begins from the first day they arrive into the world. Education also provides love, caresses, kind words, and habits. It occurs during feeding, sleeping, and the smiles that you encourage your child to try to imitate.
Education is the voice that gives them encouragement and support, offering them a sense of security with every step they take, the reinforcement that teaches them to be brave after every fall – all this is emotional education.
The real adventure begins around the age of eight. At this time, children are starting to grasp what the world really is and who they are. They already have a sense of justice and of what is right and wrong.
From this point on, they’ll continue to form their personality and interests. They will go out into the world with greater curiosity, where you are the key to offer support, autonomy, and everyday love.
Pay attention to the dimensions you should encourage as part of the emotional education of your child.
1. Self-awarenessChildren should grow up to become the best version of themselves. What does that mean? They need to be aware of both their potential and their limitations.
Teach them the value of doing things for themselves, to be autonomous, so that they can see what they are capable of, what they’re good at, and where they can potentially go wrong.
Be careful not to be overprotective of them, because it prevents them from being responsible or having good self-esteem. Let them grow and support them with every step they take, always remembering that each time they make a mistake at something, you shouldn’t punish them – teach them how to do it better.
2. Give them responsibilitiesAn emotionally mature person is responsible for him or herself. They are someone who doesn’t depend on others to do things for them and they trust in their abilities.
As your children get older, give them more responsibilities. They must learn that life isn’t just about rights and freedoms, but that we must all be responsible for our actions in order to be free.
3. Learn to be happy but also to accept frustrationFrom a very young age children should be made to understand that they can’t have everything. Every time they receive a negative response from you, they shouldn’t react as if the world has ended. Here’s an example:
Your eight year old son ask you to buy him a cell phone. Obviously he’s still too young for that, so you discuss it with him and expect him to understand. If he has a tantrum, hitting the furniture and yelling, he has not yet learned to accept frustration. In the long term this can cause a lot of misery, but when properly managed you can explain the situation calmly and with reason.
4. The importance of the “common good” and the “win-win”Life isn’t an island in which we travel alone. We live in a society among other people who become part of our daily lives, establishing bonds and growing emotionally as a society.
What does that mean? In order to succeed in the emotional education of your children, you have to work on the following aspects:
- Encourage empathy so that they recognize emotions in others, such as grandparents, siblings, friends…
- Help them understand that if they do something wrong, it also affects other people. If they strive to be respectful, understanding, and make other people happy then “everyone wins.” If they smile at someone, most likely they will receive a smile in return. Positive emotions are always the most powerful.
- It’s also important to ensure that your children learn to be happy with themselves – they need to have hobbies they enjoy and undertake new things that give them knowledge and satisfaction. At the same time they will learn that self-love is a powerful shield. With good self-esteem and acceptance of their physical and emotional selves, they’ll be better able to love others.
Start today to put these tips into practice and see how much success you have in the emotional education of your children.