EQ coupled with IQ in Early Childhood Development

By Optimi | 28 Feb, 2024

In the context of education, IQ or intellectual intelligence is usually measured through academic performance and programs like extra lessons and tutoring can usually be arranged to help improve the results.

Now more than ever we are seeing an increased need for education on how to deal with emotions. Recognising the importance of emotional intelligence or EQ in shaping well-rounded and successful individuals can be rectified in the formative years.

What does EQ look like in children?

EQ is the ability to be smart about your emotions and the emotions of those around you and how to deal with them effectively. Admittedly, this can be tricky in children since they may not always know how to make sense of what they are feeling. Although tricky, it doesn’t mean it is impossible to teach.

Teaching EQ in Early Childhood

The first step is to teach them to name their feelings so that they can build their vocabulary for the emotions they are feeling at that moment. You can do this by asking them if they feel “happy or “sad” or even “frustrated” about events or scenarios in their lives. Validate their feelings and help them unpack what these mean for them.

Using EQ to Empower Kids

Problem-solving and other coping skills are an added benefit of building emotional intelligence. Once you’ve taught your child how to identify the different emotions and why they might be feeling that way, allow them to suggest ways they can work through the emotions. You don’t have to agree with their solutions, but you can help them understand the consequences of how they react. Try to assume the role of a coach more than a problem solver by guiding them to the best-suited solution.

The Benefits of EQ in Children

Teaching children to understand their feelings also helps them better understand the feelings of those around them, and aids in building interpersonal skills. While playing or learning, they possess the ability to empathise with others and navigate social situations that may arise in the classroom or playground, all whilst enhancing their decision-making abilities. Another advantage is that they develop the confidence to express their feelings to others.

Behavioural Challenges Might Make it Challenging

Children with behavioural and learning difficulties may have a harder time picking up on social and emotional cues which can make it more challenging. These aren’t always obvious in earlier years and can develop later in adolescence. Some key tell-tale signs could be that your child can’t maintain lasting friendships due to poor social skills, has disruptive behavioural episodes if they don’t get their way or seems incapable of empathising with others. A way to work around this is to make your kid aware of how their behaviour is hurtful and ask how it would make them feel if it was done to them. Be consistent and patient with them.


Striking a balance between IQ and EQ can provide the necessary transformative approach to the way learning and teaching happen in today’s ever-evolving society.