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How Do You Help Your Child Develop Emotional Intelligence?
by: Susan Dunn

In her book, “Taking Charge: Your Life Patterns and Their Meaning,” Gudrun Burkhard writes: “It is important that the child’s feeling life should find fertile ground on which to grow. Such fertile soil can be provided by art or religion, but above all by loving authority which comes from parents and teachers.”

Assuming that you’re taking care of the part about being a “loving authority,” let’s look at some other avenues for developing your child’s emotional intelligence.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE THROUGH THE ARTS In my Internet course, The EQ Foundation Course©, I include art, poetry, and music. For some people, it’s their first exposure. Being able to relate to the emotional content of art, poetry and music enhances EQ, and leads to an understanding of emotions in others.

How does this work? Things move fast in real life, but a painting can be a ‘frozen moment in time’ that can be looked at and studied. Whether or not it registers with us consciously, when we look at a painting of an angry person, for instance, we’re learning what the nonverbal signs of anger are. After all, there’s no sound accompanying a painting.

One adult learner wrote, “Susan’s EQ course is very valuable because it is experiential; it uses art masterfully as a vehicle to convey and explain emotions over the Internet.” Another wrote, “I never knew that much was in a painting. Now I want to go to art museums and learn more.”

Here are some ways you can include the arts in your child’s experience:

1. Read “First Feelings: Milestones in the Emotional Development of Your Baby and Child,”by I. Stanley Greenspan, MD and Nancy Greenspan. This will give you an understanding of developmental stages.
2. “Discovering Great Artists: Hands-on Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters,”by Kohl, Solga and Slyke.
3. “Linnea in Monet’s Garden,” by Bjork. (About the painter, Monet.)
4. “David’s Drawings,” by Falwell. This book explores art as a private and also shared experience, and also deals with feelings.
5. “Degas and the Little Dancer: A Story about Edgar Degas,”by Anholt. About Degas, the painter of ballet dancers.
6. “Katie and the Sunflowers,”by Mayhew. About Picasso.
7. “Sing a Song of Popcorn: Every Child’s Book of Poems,”by De Regniers.
8. “Greek Myths for Young Children”, by Amery. Myths are metaphors … being able to use metaphor is a high-level EQ competency.
9. “National Geographic Photography Guide for Kids,”by Johnson. If you haven’t discovered National Geographic photography, go here and enjoy the photographs with your child.
10. “Sector 7,”by David Weisner. There are no words IN this book, and there are no words FOR this book.
11. “Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day,”by Jamie Lee Curtis.
12. “The Random House Book of Poetry for Children,”by Prelutsky.
13. “When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry,”by Molly Bang.
14. “Andrew’s Angry Words,”by Lachner. In reading the reviews of these two books, you’ll see there’s still disagreement on how to handle anger – a child’s, our own, or someone else’s. EQ coaching can help you develop your skills in this area.

As your child explores the world of art, poetry and reading, let him or her share with others:

1. Write a kids’ book review on

2. Submit his or her art to the Worldwide Kids’ Art Gallery.

3. Visit some online art galleries with your child: or cgfa. Let them choose a category and talk about what you see, and how the paintings make you feel.

If you’d like to learn more about emotional intelligence, go here for resources. Read "Emotional Intelligence,"by Daniel Goleman.

Your EQ is more important to your success and happiness than your IQ. Give your child a real head start. Learn EQ, and pass it on!

Take the EQ-Map™ and see how your emotional intelligence measures up. Unlike IQ, EQ can be learned, and you can develop yours over your lifetime. EQ coaching can help you develop competencies you’re deficient in. Remember – if you’re a parent, someone’s watching everything you do!

About the Author

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, GLOBAL EQ. Emotional intelligence coaching to enhance all areas of your life - career, relationships, midlife transition, resilience, self-esteem, parenting. EQ Alive! - excellent, accelerated, affordable EQ coach certification. Susan is the author of numerous ebooks, is widely published on the Internet, and a regular speaker for cruise lines. For marketing services go here.


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