Educating a child means more than just encouraging their intellect. While a child’s intellect—and IQ—will aid them throughout their school years, their emotional intelligence—or EQ—aids them both in school and beyond, as it affects how they develop and maintain personal and social relationships.
Those with high EQ excel throughout their lives—in school, at work and socially. How we handle emotions, get along with others and empathize with peers allows us to become relatable and well liked. But EQ isn’t about popularity, and boosting emotional intelligence has nothing to do with getting in with the right crowds or cliques. Those with high EQ think beyond peer pressure; they know how to steer clear of toxic situations and individuals, and they instinctively understand when and how to stay composed under pressure—or when angry.
Social and emotional learning programs focus on boosting emotional intelligence. In a society where cyber bullying has become a scary—and all too prevalent– trend, teaching kids how to handle tough situations, stay emotionally composed, and how to avoid the wrong crowd is crucial to developing higher self-esteem, classroom success and helping them thrive in their future careers.
Employers know that employees with high EQ tend to be more relatable and, in turn, more successful with customers, clients, and colleagues. For parents who want to strengthen their child’s emotional intelligence, social and emotional learning (SEL) programs are available in school, as an after-hours enrichment option or even at home.
Programs for Schools
Does your child’s school offer an SEL program? While SEL is becoming more popular across the country, many schools still only offer these programs to students who struggle socially. However, SEL is beneficial for ALL kids. Popular SEL programs implemented in schools include 4 R’s (Reading, Writing, Respect and Resolution), Al’s Pals, Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development, I Can Problem Solve, The Open Circle…and many more. Lesson times vary per program. Parents interested in bringing SEL programs to their school can research a comprehensive list of programs to present to school administration.
EQ Resources at Home
A child’s education begins at home. If your school isn’t prepared to offer SEL programs, explore EQ resources you can use at home to provide your child with the right tools for strengthening their emotional intellect. Some great EQ resources for parents include the CASEL parent packet and the Parent Tool Kit, which have great information on activities you can be doing as a parent. You can find a big list of resources here, if you really want to do your research.
The writers at Edutopia offer these tips for parents to bring SEL home. To embrace SEL, Edutopia advises that parents: listen to children, model good behavior, help children strengthen self-esteem, and respect (and celebrate!) differences. Parents are a child’s first teacher. What children learn at home stays with them for a lifetime. Teach them kindness, to value others as well as themselves, and that all differences between peers should be respected.
Your community may offer other after-school opportunities for SEL programs. Some school districts or individual schools provide additional resources for students that may include ‘meet-ups’ or buddy programs. Check with your school district to inquire about any after-school SEL programs offered near you.
Implementing SEL in the classroom is the ideal opportunity for students to strengthen their emotional and social intelligence. While many schools have embraced SEL, some districts may not offer these important programs or may only offer SEL-based programs as an after-school opportunity. If parents are unable to find SEL programs and resources within the school setting, they may integrate lessons into the family dynamic by modeling SEL programs in the home. Whether students participate at school, at home or as an extracurricular activity, EQ benefits children for a lifetime.