Children with higher emotional intelligence (EQ) scores are better able to manage their emotions, be more successful in school, and have fewer negative habits. Learn how to help children improve their emotional intelligence in preschool.

Why is emotional intelligence (EI) important for preschoolers?

We all know that emotions are very powerful. Emotions determine how we relate to each other as adults. Research shows that our emotions often influence the kind of information we're attracted to and able to process.

Emotions play an important role in how children learn. Children can be vulnerable when emotional difficulties interfere with their academic achievement. When children lack social-emotional competence, they may experience problems with communication skills, peer relationships, and conflict resolution. In contrast, children with higher emotional intelligence quotients were better able to manage their emotions and were less aggressive. They will have a more positive mood, be more successful in their studies, have fewer negative habits, they create and enjoy social relationships like family; peers; social circles, in a positive way, and they demonstrate social adaptation.

Emotional intelligence (EI) represents understanding, using, and managing personal emotions, or understanding and responding to the emotions of others. While IQ (Intelligence Quotient) measures intelligence, Emotional Quotient or EQ measures emotional intelligence.

Teaching EI in early childhood education allows teachers to help children become familiar with their own emotions, as well as learn how to deal with the emotions of others appropriately. Therefore, integrating lessons related to emotional skills into the curriculum is one solution to prevent school problems.

Strategies to improve emotional intelligence in preschool children

Emotional intelligence is often referred to with four dimensions.

  • Self-awareness
  • Manage yourself
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship building skills

Due to age characteristics, children are often unable to participate actively in all four areas at an early age, which will come over time. The preschool environment is a good place for children to develop emotional intelligence.

The first years of life are an emotional environment in which each child will express emotions specific to their personality and culture. Children spend most of their time in the school environment second only to the home environment. When they go to school, children bring their feelings to the classroom. Children learn to trust others. Children also want to understand each other, and they adjust by sharing their feelings and experiences. If children can find support for their emotions in this environment, they will feel safe and their ability to adapt will increase over time.

See how preschools and preschool teachers can recognize their children's emotions, respond effectively to their needs, and help them improve their emotional intelligence by strengthening the 4 elements. mentioned.

Emotional intelligence in preschool children: Self-awareness

Self-awareness involves perceiving different aspects of self including traits, behaviors, and emotions. Preschool can help children develop self-awareness by having them think about how they are feeling often and then describe those feelings in simple words. Teachers can also let children test themselves using a mood scale (pictured below). Children can use the scale frequently throughout the day to measure how they are feeling, or better yet, ask the person next to them. This can be done at specific times of the day, like after lunch, when the child is going through different physical and emotional states.


The fact that teachers become positive role models, by regularly sharing their own positive and negative emotions with children, shows children that adults have these kinds of emotions too. For example, teachers might talk about feeling tired one morning because they stayed up late to prepare for a school activity the child was engaged in. The teacher can then ask the children if they remember being tired or excited about something. This will guide the discussion towards a conscious comparison of thoughts, feelings, and behavioral responses.

Finally, teachers should help children express themselves and label their feelings in a positive way. For example, instead of saying “I don't like something” (which is negative), encourage your child to pause, think, and say something he or she likes about what is being discussed (choose how to say it). positive).

Emotional intelligence in preschoolers: Self-management

The ability to manage and self-regulate emotions helps children observe and control themselves. Skills in managing, expressing, and expressing emotions promote positive outcomes, flexibility, adaptability, and joy. Children may tend to express themselves with different behaviors when their feelings are not understood. Such circumstances can create challenges for teachers and children. Children can learn to control their emotions by spending time outside, in a corner or quiet space, to calm down when upset. Teachers can also encourage and guide children to express themselves in effective ways, such as asking children to share their own feelings and what led to these feelings.

When children are able to recognize emotions, understand where their emotions are coming from, and then come up with potential strategies to change or maintain them together, it helps to ensure that adults and children are already using them. emotions effectively to create an environment that supports learning.

For children who struggle with anger or negative behavior problems, a classroom behavior plan can be developed and presented that describes what type of behavior is assessed. high in the classroom and which behavior is not. Classroom design, colors, and sounds (such as playing classical music) are important in assisting children with emotional regulation. Praise and recognition are also very helpful.


Emotional intelligence in preschool children: Social awareness

Social awareness and empathy go hand in hand and Both are important for a person to be able to develop positive relationships, communicate and collaborate effectively with others. Social awareness refers to the ability to understand and interpret the social cues, norms, and expectations of a particular group or culture. It includes being attuned to the thoughts, feelings, and perspectives of others, as well as being aware of the impact of one's actions on others. Whereas, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It involves being able to recognize and respond to the emotions of others in an appropriate and empathetic way.

Children do not automatically understand empathy in the first few years of life. Children tend to think about their own needs and put themselves first most of the time, which is normal and natural.

Children need to understand why empathy is important. Empathy is an important part of a child's social and emotional development. Understanding empathy will help children build quality relationships with peers, as well as adults. Children will have better mental health, more harmony with others, and higher levels of happiness and satisfaction.

Teachers and caregivers can help children develop empathy and social awareness by guiding children to notice how others feel.


At the age of 2–3 years, children begin to realize that other people will have different feelings and thoughts from them; In the following years, children can learn to put themselves in other people's shoes and find the source of other people's problems. Children can then tell if someone is sad or happy by looking at that person's expression.

The teacher can start by having the child look at her own face when making different expressions. The teacher can then have the children practice together. Emotions often produce different physical responses that children can learn to identify in response to.

Emotional intelligence in preschoolers: Relationship building skills

To enhance emotional intelligence in preschoolers, relationship building skills must be mastered. Relationship building is the ability to build positive relationships, especially with diverse individuals and groups, through the practice of active listening, communication, and conflict resolution. These skills also include the ability to resist pressure, seek, and offer help. In the preschool environment, children need to develop and maintain positive and lasting relationships with peers and adults.

Relationships that foster trust on a deeper level can develop meaningful connections over time. Children can also build rapport by showing empathy with each other when talking about times when someone has been treated unfairly or by describing situations in which they can show kindness to those in need. sad.

For children to master EI, teachers should ensure that the classroom environment is safe and respectful, so that children can learn to become more comfortable sharing their personal thoughts and feelings.

We often model how we should act towards others through how we react to our own emotions.



By helping children learn to perceive, manage, and relate to others through EI, teachers can provide children with important life skills and tools that will not only help them succeed in school, but also to build healthy relationships with friends and adults in the community, and to pursue a meaningful life as an adult.

Learning about our own emotions and those of others improves learning outcomes. Emotional responses often come automatically. Children and adults often act and speak before thinking. By learning to regulate their own emotional states, children have a valuable opportunity to pay attention and think about how to respond more balancedly to what is going on around them, rather than reacting too quickly and often, too harshly. To begin the journey of developing EI, teachers should begin by helping children develop a sense of self-awareness and self-management.

Also, preschoolers don't always have the vocabulary they need, when they want to develop social awareness or relationship-building skills. Adults working with younger children can help them identify their own feelings and those of others using descriptive words, body language cues, or with the help of older children. more in school, acting as a role model.

Modern preschools are becoming more and more multicultural. More and more children speak a mother tongue other than the official language used at school. Furthermore, a child's understanding and practices of culture and faith may also be different from what many other children are used to.

Ethics, ethics and inclusion are important in these circumstances, and should also be incorporated into learning plans and activities appropriate for all ages and stages.