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Social Emotional Learning: 5 Tips for Nurturing Emotional Intelligence

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Emotional Intelligence

It’s nearly impossible to talk about behavior and learning without talking about emotion. Emotion can affect how we act and react to situations throughout our day and if we're ill equipped, we may find ourselves in some sticky situations.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, evaluate, control, and express emotions. People with high emotional intelligence often make great leaders, friends, and team players because of their ability to understand, empathize, and connect with the people around them.

High emotional intelligence means children are better equipped to identify and control their emotions (and actions). With these skills, children can more easily reject choices that might lead to issues at school, at home, and in relationships (friendships).

Emotional Intelligence vs Social Emotional Learning

According to Yale Medicine, "...emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your emotions and identify the emotions of others. Social emotional learning refers to a process in which children acquire emotional intelligence, develop empathy for others, and learn problem-solving skills."



Help your child recognize and name their feelings. When you notice your child being angry, say “I see that you’re angry”. When your child is excited, say “I see that you’re excited”, and so forth. Your child will catch on and begin to be able to name their own feelings.


Allow your child to feel. Help him find the words to express what he is feeling. Parents don’t like to see their children upset and often look to fix things before actually dealing with the whys. Give your child the chance to feel the emotion, then help him figure out how to get through what he is feeling.


When children get into conflicts, help them deal with them positively. For example, during a get together your child and her friend get into an argument about something. Instead of jumping in to fix everything, help the children work through what the issue is and come to a peaceful agreement.


Play games that help identify emotions. Charades is a great game that allows for a myriad of emotions. Put on a puppet show. Acting allows for plenty of opportunity to have fun while learning about different emotions.


Let your child see how you handle your emotions. When we’re happy we have no problem letting the world know. However, parents often hide negative emotions from their children in an effort to protect them. Let your child "see you feeling” and let them see you appropriately handle those feelings. This will let them know it’s ok to have a variety of emotions and equip them with the tools on how to deal with those emotions.


FEATURED BOOK: I Am Okay to Feel by Karamo Brown and Jason "Rachel" Brown, illus. by Diobelle Cerna

PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION: An empowering picture book that invites us to explore and embrace our emotions from Karamo, talk show host and culture expert of Netflix's hit series Queer Eye, and Jason Brown, featuring illustrations by Diobelle Cerna, and expert-vetted resources.

A father and son are caught in a storm and must learn to navigate the uncertainty together in this poignant picture book by talk show host and beloved Queer Eye star Karamo Brown and his son Jason "Rachel" Brown, perfect for reassuring young readers in times of stress.

I Am Okay to Feel empowers children to talk about their emotions and anxieties, with the reassuring message that "I am okay to feel and heal." Paired with back matter and resources developed with psychologists, this picture book offers a loving framework for how to identify and express feelings in a healthy way, providing the tools to build emotional intelligence at a formative age.


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