EQ

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Is My Baby’s Emotional Intelligence On Track?”    Let’s face it, it’s tough trying to figure out how your baby is feeling. It’s not like your 2-month-old can calmly explain, “Mom, I really don’t appreciate when you wipe my tush with those freezing cold wipes. Please use the wipe warmer moving forward.” No, instead you’re met with flailing limbs and blood-curdling screams as you desperately try to figure out why your baby’s ticked off. Though you may feel like a deer in headlights deciphering your baby’s emotions, the way you support their emotional intelligence (EQ) during their first year sets the foundation for their lifelong emotional health.    So now that we’ve laid the pressure on thick, let’s dive into  how  you can support your baby’s EQ, even when you have no clue what they’re feeling.     1. Mark their emotional milestones   The first step in supporting your child’s emotional management is understanding how a baby’s EQ typically develops. The average milestone pattern is as follows:   0-3 Months  – They express whatever emotions they’re feeling in the moment without understanding them. All they know is they are either feeling pleasure or displeasure and when they are displeased, they make sure their parents know it!   Month 3  – Your baby will make eye contact, develop more facial expressions, and start to show pleasure by smiling. They may find ways to briefly soothe themselves such as closing their eyes or thumb sucking.    Month 4  – Their showing of emotions intensifies and they’ll begin to copy your facial expressions. They’ll also recognize when they’re having fun and may cry when playing stops.   Month 5  – They become increasingly assertive and begin to decipher between family members and strangers.    Month 6  – They tend to be a bit moodier; you may notice they are happy and clapping one minute and having a raging fit the next. Gotta keep you on your toes mom & dad!   Month 7  – At this point your baby realizes you aren’t attached to them - a revelation that gives birth to a new feeling: fear. This is often when separation anxiety kicks in. They also start to pick up on social referencing, or being able to understand how others feel by looking at their faces and gestures.    8-11 months  – Your baby is becoming more aware of others’ feelings and may feel guilt when they’ve done something wrong. Separation anxiety peaks during this time, but your baby will also begin to display independence as they learn to crawl and walk.    12 months – Toddlers feel an increased need to assert their independence which leads to, you guessed it, tantrums! Since their language development is increasing dramatically, this is a great time to teach your toddler to label their emotions.    2. Embrace their wiring    The development of your child’s EQ is based on 3 factors: their brain development, their life experiences, and their temperament. At around 6 months, your baby’s temperament will become increasingly apparent. If your child is more anxious, sensitive, or hot-tempered than you’d like them to be, it’s important that you learn to accept them for who they are and not try to force them to change. Instead, focus your efforts on teaching them ways to cope with strong emotions regardless of their temperament.    3. Have 1-sided convos   Just because your baby isn’t talking yet doesn’t mean they don’t gain a lot from listening to you. It’s never too early to start talking to your baby about feelings. Make it a habit to label your emotions during everyday life so that they become familiar with what each feeling is called.   Examples: (Baby cries when Grandma leaves). Mom: “I understand, you’re feeling sad that Grandma is leaving. I’m sad Grandma’s leaving too.”   4. Encourage Empathy   A key factor of emotional intelligence is not just understanding our own emotions, but being able to recognize the feelings of others. Model empathy by bringing up others’ feelings during daily interactions and play.   Example:  “Teddy bear is sitting all by himself. He must feel lonely. Let’s go play with him.”   Have older kids too?    Check out our blog on fostering EQ in children and teens     5. Troubleshoot tantrums   Pay attention to your child’s body language  before  they enter full meltdown mode – do they shake, turn red, or clench their fists? When you notice your child steering toward the tantrum-turnpike, intervene by giving a calming touch or offering a fun distraction. This will set the foundation for learning to calm themselves down before their feelings escalate and get out of hand.    6. Model good management   The best way to show your baby how to manage emotions is to demonstrate it yourself. Whether your feelings are positive or negative, make a point to show your child healthy ways to express them.   Examples:   “I am feeling frustrated right now so I am going to close my eyes and focus on my breathing for a minute.”   “I’m feeling so excited that Titi Marta is going to be here in five minutes! Let’s do a dance together until she gets here!”   Are you a high EQ parent?    Click here    to find out!    7. Identify EQ problems   While babies progress at different rates, it’s important to know when their behaviors may be pointing to developmental problems. If your baby exhibits any of the following symptoms, their emotional growth might not be on track for their age:      Frequent anxiety or anger    Sleep problems    Refusal to eat    Lethargy    Extreme fear of new situations     Lack of motivation to try new things       


   
     
      
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      8. See a specialist   Supporting a baby’s EQ is HARD! You can’t reason with them, they can’t tell you what’s wrong, and you’re often sleep-deprived and overwhelmed yourself. The good news is, you don’t need to do it alone. Our Specialists at Variations can support you in understanding your baby’s development, determining if they need additional support, and giving you tools to boost your child’s EQ through each stage of life.     Dr. Amy E. Weir, Psy.D.,  is an expert in infant and toddler development. Dr. Weir specializes in providing diagnostic testing, treatment support, and behavior management strategies to support the unique needs of babies and young children.     
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Weir 
        Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D.,  is an expert in child and educational psychology. Dr. Shinn can provide diagnostic testing and recommend support for your baby’s healthy emotional development.       
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Alegre, A. (2011). Parenting Styles and Children’s Emotional Intelligence: What do We Know?  The Family Journal ,  19 (1), 56–62. https://doi.org/10.1177/1066480710387486  Baby Sparks (2017). The Evolution of Emotions (Part 1): Your Baby’s First Year. https://babysparks.com/2017/10/12/the-evolution-of-emotions-part-1-your-babys-first-year/  Brouzos, A., Misailidi, P., & Hadjimattheou, A. (2014). Associations Between Emotional Intelligence, Socio-Emotional Adjustment, and Academic Achievement in Childhood: The Influence of Age.  Canadian Journal of School Psychology ,  29 (2), 83–99. https://doi.org/10.1177/0829573514521976  Harvard University (2011). Children’s Emotional Development is Built into the Architecture of Their Brains. Center on the Developing Child.  National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.  Retrieved online: http://46y5eh11fhgw3ve3ytpwxt9r.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2004/04/Childrens-Emotional-Development-Is-Built-into-the-Architecture-of-Their-Brains.pdf  Shinn. M.M. (2018). “Am I an Emotionally Intelligent Parent?” 6 Tips for Moms and Dads to Boost their EQ.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/am-i-an-emotionally-intelligent-parent-6-tips-for-moms-dads-to-boost-their-eq  Shinn. M.M. (2018). 5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children.  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/5-tips-for-raising-emotionally-intelligent-children    How to Cite this Article:    Shinn. M.M. (2019). “Is My Baby’s Emotional Intelligence On Track?”  Psychologically Speaking.  [Variations Psychology blog post]. Retrieved from :    https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/is-my-babys-emotional-intelligence-on-track    

“Is My Baby’s Emotional Intelligence On Track?”

It’s tough to know how to support your baby’s emotions when they can’t explain them to you. The good news is, there are ways to teach your baby healthy emotional management well before they’re walking or talking.

Check out this week’s blog to learn how!

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children   From the time a baby is born until they establish themselves as adults, most parents are at least a little concerned with how intelligent their child will be. They may get a little worried if their best friend’s kid started talking earlier or if their teen didn’t make the honor roll.     But what about the type of intelligence that doesn’t impact a kid’s ability to solve math equations or memorize state capitols?    We’re talking about emotional intelligence, and though it might not get quite as much “air time” among parents’ concerns, we’re here to convince you that it’s just as important to your child’s future as their academic performance.   What is emotional intelligence?   Emotional intelligence (EQ) is our ability to identify and manage the emotions of ourselves and others. EQ refers to the way that we perceive, process, regulate, and use emotional information.   For example, if your child has high EQ, they might manage a conflict with a friend in the following manner:    Emotional Perception  – “I’ve noticed that Hailey has been ignoring me at recess so I think she might be mad at me.”  Emotional Process  – “I’m feeling lonely and hurt because Hailey is ignoring me, but I’m not going to let it ruin my day. I have lots of people that care about me and I’m sure I’ll get through this.”  Emotional Regulation  – “I think I’ll ask Hailey about why she’s angry at me, but first I’m going to take a walk to calm down and think about what I should say.”  Emotional Utilization  – “Now that I’m feeling calm, I’m going to ask Hailey if she’s angry with me and talk to her about how we can work it out.”     How EQ impacts your child’s life   A person’s EQ guides their behaviors and impacts their career, relationships, and overall well-being. While IQ may be a good indicator of your child’s academic potential, it won’t necessarily help them relate to others or manage challenges. Some argue that EQ is more important to success than IQ, as EQ has shown to have stronger influence on stress management, team cohesiveness, and job performance than technical knowledge.   Why is EQ so critical?   Studies have shown that American children have steadily declined in emotional intelligence over the past several decades. A growing number of kids are struggling with anxiety, impulsivity, disobedience, anger, loneliness, and depression. An unfortunate reflection of this trend is also seen in the growing prevalence of school violence since the 1990’s. To address this alarming concern, it’s important that parents and educators understand how to cultivate emotional intelligence in children.   How can I raise an emotionally intelligent child?    Just as there are academic prodigies who seemed to master calculus from within the womb, there are kids who naturally have a higher EQ than others. Whether a child is “emotionally gifted” or not, studies have shown that emotional intelligence can be taught and increased in children.   Here are 5 tips for raising an emotionally intelligent child:     1. Be an emotional "label maker"   Emotionally intelligent people understand and accept their emotions as they experience them. This insight allows them to identify what they are feeling and understand that their emotions are temporary. Big emotions can feel very overwhelming to little people, so help your child understand their feelings by “labeling” them as they come up. This will help them realize that their feelings are a normal part of life that can be worked through.   Example: “You’re feeling angry because it’s your brother’s turn to pick the movie we watch. Everyone feels angry sometimes, and it’s ok to feel that way.”    2. Become an "empathy" model   While you may not be a fitness or swimsuit model, parenting gives you a chance to model your best body part – your heart! Modeling empathy, especially when you don’t agree with your child, is an effective way to show them how to acknowledge the perspectives of others even when they don’t see eye to eye. Empathizing does not mean you have to let your parental boundaries cave in, it simply means you validate their feelings while sticking to your rules.   Example: “I understand that it’s hard for you to stop playing and come inside, but it’s time for dinner.”    3. Encourage expression   When your child starts the dreaded “whine-talk” or temper tantrum, it can be tempting to plug your ears and send them to their room. Unfortunately, this tells your child that expressing negative emotions is unacceptable, causing them to repress their feelings rather than learning how to managing them. When your child gets upset, encourage them to use calm words to explain how they are feeling. Try to stop viewing negative emotions as harmful – instead, view them as a teaching opportunity to show your child how to express emotions in a calm, healthy way.   Example: “It looks like you’re feeling sad because your sister was leaving you out of the game. It’s ok to be sad, but it’s never ok to hit. Use calm words to tell your sister how you are feeling.”    4. Increase their interactions   Children of previous generations spent a lot more time playing with other children – a behavior that naturally cultivates EQ. Today’s kids tend to spend a lot of time indoors, limiting their emotional interactions. Limit screen time and allow your child to have plenty of unstructured social time with peers. Take the time to actively talk and listen to them without distractions. Even if your child is yelling at you to go away, a child’s rage and sadness often can’t dissipate until they feel heard and understood. Put your phone away, let the laundry wait, and tell your child you want to listen.   Example: “I know you said you’re angry and that you want to be alone, but I just want you to know that I’m here and I want to listen.    5. Empower problem solving   Your child’s homework will almost always revolve around solving academic problems – things like figuring out which train will reach its destination faster or determining how to make an egg survive being thrown off a building. Emotional conundrums might not be in their weekly homework packet, but they deserve just as much attention. When your child is upset or disappointed, encourage them by offering to help them brainstorm ideas to overcome their difficult emotions.   Example: “It looks like you’re feeling frustrated because your friend hurt your feelings. When you’re feeling calm, let’s think of things you can say to help her understand how you feel.”    Variations can help   Emotional intelligence is a critical aspect in your child’s development, social relationships, mental health, and life-long success. If you are concerned about your child’s EQ development or just want to learn more ways to support their emotional growth, Variations Psychology can help.      Cynthia Johnson, LMFT , is a specialist in Parenting and Child Therapy at Variations Psychology. Cynthia is experienced in helping parents build strong emotional connections with their children and provides parents with practical tips to support their child’s mental and emotional growth.   Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D ., is an expert in child and educational psychology. Dr. Shinn specializes in helping parents understand the educational and emotional needs of their children, consults with parents to evaluate EQ in their children, and teaches parents ways to increase their child’s emotional intelligence and mental well-being.     
 
	 Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.    More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams). See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a   call   and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Bar-On, R., Maree, J.G., & Elias, M.J. (2007)  Educating People To Be Emotionally Intelligent.  Heinemann Publishers.   Gottman, J. (1997)  Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child . Simon & Schuster.  Mikolajczak, Moïra et al.  The moderating impact of emotional intelligence on free cortisol responses to stress Psychoneuroendocrinology , Volume 32 , Issue 8 , 1000 - 1012     Laura Thi Lam & Susan L. Kirby (2010) Is Emotional Intelligence an Advantage? An Exploration of the Impact of Emotional and General Intelligence on Individual Performance, The Journal of Social Psychology, 142:1, 133-143,DOI: 10.1080/00224540209603891   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). 5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children.   Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/5-tips-for-raising-emotionally-intelligent-children

5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children

From the time a baby is born until they establish themselves as adults, most parents are at least a little concerned with how intelligent their child will be. They may get a little worried if their best friend’s kid started talking earlier or if their teen didn’t make the honor roll.  

But what about the type of intelligence that doesn’t impact a kid’s ability to solve math equations or memorize state capitols?