Increasing Kids’ Emotional Intelligence through Mindfulness
The lives of young children, tweens, and teens are bursting with experiences that encourage increased independence, decision-making skills, and responsibility. Many situations that are viewed as unfair, non-preferred, or challenging could result in feelings of anger, frustration, or sadness. When children experience a big emotion, it is sometimes beyond their capabilities to independently identify the emotion, understand the situation, and calm down.
Mindfulness can become a state, trait, or practice to bring your attention to the present moment and non-judgmentally identify what is happening in your mind and body. Continue reading to learn how mindfulness increases emotional intelligence in children.
Identifying Big Emotions
Big emotions can look like a child screaming, stomping their feet, crossing their arms, crying, hiding, or even remaining quiet in the face of many new and sometimes overwhelming situations. Mindfulness practice is a way that parents and caregivers can support children to identify their own big emotions. Mindfulness can bring the ability to pause, take deep breaths, and notice your body, feelings, and thoughts.
Taking time to count your breaths can help a young girl notice that her body is overheated and sweating, calm her energy level, and notice that her thoughts are consumed by her little sister because she thinks that she took one of her favorite toys.
Increasing Self-Management Skills
Even though children are still growing and developing, mindfulness practice can increase their ability to regulate their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
Mindfulness can encourage a teenager to pause before starting an exam in class, notice that she is feeling anxious about making a mistake, count her breaths, label her thoughts as nervous, and give herself compassion by repeating a positive mantra to herself before the exam.
Allows Opportunity for Responsible Decision-Making
Sitting down for five minutes every day to be quiet in the present moment and take deep breaths can be a difficult task for children, tweens, and teens. However, a teen taking a walk outside to notice his environment after a negative social situation can calm him down enough to process the situation. After reflection, he can choose more responsible decisions the next time he is with his friends.
Bringing Kindness to Stressful Situations
By slowly infusing mindfulness practice into everyday routines, children will build their own skills to tune into their inner world and notice what is happening. Mindfulness can be as simple as a tween coloring to ease her mind from her homework frustrations before going back to finish it. Giving yourself kindness in frustrating situations can bring yourself back to the present moment and appreciate all of the wonderfulness inside of you.
Mindful Soul is excited to offer mindfulness workshops for kids ages 5 to 18. Through our Calm Kids Mindfulness Workshops children, tweens and teens will learn fundamental mindfulness practices, build social relationships, and increase their emotional intelligence!
“The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.”
– Jon Kabbat-Zinn