2. Help others
While it’s best to limit children’s exposure to alarming TV news reports and programs, depending on their age, you can still keep them informed about what’s happening around you. Talk to them about those who are less fortunate than your family or have suffered loss due to the pandemic. Ask your child about how they think these families might be feeling and get ideas from your child about how you can help. Source charities who work with those in need and encourage your child to think about what they’d like to donate. This process encourages empathy in your child and the act of helping others will also help lift your child’s spirits.
3. Be kind
Kindness and empathy go hand-in-hand. Your child doesn’t have to engage in grand gestures of kindness to develop strong EQ – even little things go a long way. It could be as simple as keeping some food and water outside for hungry birds and animals. Or reviving a dying plant. You child can learn how to be kind through other gestures, like bringing a cup of water or food to their sibling (or other family member) or simply giving out hugs to everyone at home. Teach your child to be kind to themselves too and take a break, especially if they are feeling overwhelmed by online school or the pandemic in general.
4. Show your child what empathy looks like
You are your child’s first teacher and what you say and how you behave will influence them too. You could do this by explaining to your child just how much frontline workers are doing for people and expressing gratitude for their services. Make it a point to thank those who deliver groceries and other items to you. If you model empathy, you can be sure your child’s EQ will be strengthened by it.
5. Talk about your child’s feelings
An important part of having high emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own feelings. Talk with your child about their emotions and ask them what they’re feeling. Help label those feelings, empathize with your child and share with them that you too sometimes feel worried or scared. Reinforce the fact that you’re always there for them, and that you are in it together as a family. The more you empathize with your child, the more they’ll empathize with others.
Learn more about developing IQ and EQ here.