Stories to promote the emotional intelligence of your children
The stories for children they are a primary resource for encourage emotional intelligence of our children. Through reading, they can exercise empathy, identify and express their emotions and learn to react to different situations through an element as fun as the stories are.
As parents, we want the best training for our children and, today, emotional intelligence plays a fundamental role in this process. However, it is difficult to find simple ways to convey the importance of empathy, emotional regulation and self-awareness. Therefore, resorting to reading children's stories can be a solution.
Many adults still remember the stories they read as children. The characters, their stories and morals leave many times, more traces than the complex novels they read when they reach adulthood. In addition, the theme of most children's stories is related to emotional intelligence. They deal with issues such as friendship, empathy, family, love or emotions, among many others.
Begoña Ibarrola, psychologist and expert in emotional intelligence thinks that stories are an ideal resource to educate, because "they serve as emotional trainers". Children can understand, through the characters of a story, complex ideas, which are expressed through a symbolic and metaphorical language.
Why do stories stimulate emotional intelligence?
First, stories help children understand what others and themselves think and feel. By meeting characters from different cultures, sizes and colors, our children develop the capacity for empathy and are able to see the value of those who are different. In short, they learn to put themselves in each other's shoes.
Also, through stories, children can learn to identify their own emotions. The characters, says Ibarrola, "live emotions, express them in a gestural way and talk about the reasons why they feel them". Our children can learn to identify these emotions in their own lives and to communicate them externally through words, gestures and body posture, imitating the figures they admire.
As the protagonists of the stories are those who feel the emotions and act accordingly in the stories, the children have a safe distance. It is not they who experience what happens in the story, but the characters. This allows them to anticipate situations that do not live in their day to day and learn to react to them.
"The stories are a vehicle in which attention is guaranteed," says Ibarrola. All children like stories, which makes it easy for them to be attentive and focused on reading. These are important factors to ensure that the emotional intelligence teachings present in the stories are internalized by our children.
In addition, "the story is a versatile resource" because it is not only intended for children, but books designed for readers of eight and ten years can work and interest older children, who can extract useful lessons for their lives.
Tips for children to learn by reading
For the content of the stories to really make a difference in the education of our children, we can follow some of the following tips:
1. Choose stories that portray different cultures or stages of life, so that children can know that there are different ways of life in other parts of the world.
2. Ask your children questions related to the way the characters act in history, to encourage their understanding of reading.
3. Encourage them to think how they would have acted of having been in the same situation as the characters in the story.
There is no doubt that stories are an effective way to teach our children the different aspects of emotional intelligence. Through stories that will capture their attention, they can learn to be empathetic with those who are different, to identify their own emotions and to react to different situations, in order to become healthy and happy people.
Isabel López Vasquez