Everybody wants an intelligent child, academically, and well emotionally. Brenda Malowa opens up on how she has been teaching her son to recognise and express his emotions in a healthy way. After a long day at work, Brenda Mallowa\u2019s evening mostly entails limited minutes of screen time and long hours of playtime with her son Aiden Zane. No matter how busy she gets at work, Brenda tries as much as possible to make it home in time for their \u2018bonding time\u2019. \u201cI know I do not have time for my son during the day. That is why I make sure I teach him one or two things, personally in the evening,\u201d she says. She ensures she not only plays a role in developing her four-year-old academic intelligence, but also emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is simply being smart about emotions. It is defined as a person\u2019s ability to express and manage feelings appropriately while respecting the feelings of others. It\u2019s a set of skills that children can begin learning at any age. Over the past several decades, studies have found emotional intelligence provides a variety of benefits that will serve your child well throughout their entire life. Children with higher levels of emotional intelligence perform better on standardised tests. They also tend to have higher grades. Developing empathy Emotional intelligence skills help children manage conflict and develop deeper friendships. Adults with high levels of emotional intelligence also report better relationships in their personal and professional lives. Individuals with higher levels of emotional intelligence are less likely to experience depression and other mental illnesses. The good news about emotional intelligence is that it isn\u2019t set\u2014with help and practice your child can develop it over time. This is why parents need to take different roles in nurturing their children\u2019s emotions. Ask your child how he feels when he\u2019s struggling with something. Put a name to his emotions: sad, angry, overwhelmed. Then ask him why he\u2019s feeling the emotion he just named. Work on strategies. Brainstorm ways he might have done something differently to get a different outcome. Controlling emotions in order to think of solutions is a big part of emotional intelligence. Help others. Have your child join you in taking care of people in need as a way to build empathy. \u201cI have worked hard to ensure that my son and I treat each other with empathy, this way we have an understanding of each other and establish stable mental health, and satisfying relationships,\u201d Brenda says. Monkey see, monkey do One thing Brenda has learnt through her parenting life is that children learn from the parent through actions much more than words. Therefore, for children, if you can\u2019t communicate through your behaviour then they can\u2019t respect your emotions. \u201cI know that if he wants to express something, he will either speak up or cry it out. But mostly, I advocate speaking up because this develops him emotionally. I also spare sometimes working on his emotional well-being and talking to him through the importance of emotional self-regulation,\u201d she says. Although Brenda has days that she lets her guard down, she is keen on protecting her son\u2019s emotions. \u201cI know if I err, I may do a permanent damage on my child and this is not good for his mental space. Therefore, anytime I hurt his feelings I am quick to apologise instead of ignoring him,\u201d she shares. Many parents know that children learn from their adults, but the reverse is also true. Many adults can tell you, though, that they\u2019ve learned some important lessons from their children. It\u2019s this shared learning between parents and children that Brenda says makes family literacy so powerful. According to Esther Mbau, a counselling psychologist at Kipepeo Training consultants, raising emotionally intelligent children means doing certain things to make your child feel safe enough to express them. It means understanding that children emotions influence their behaviour, and teaching them that managing big emotions has an impact on their social-academic and psychological well-being. \u201cOne-way parents can ensure they learn their children emotional behaviour is by noting cases when they are most likely to display certain behaviours. Identifying a common pattern of how they behave makes it easier for one to identify effective ways of dealing with specific situations,\u201d she says. She adds that there are so many benefits that come with emotional intelligence one of them being self-awareness, self-control, better teamwork and good relating environments. Things to note; Emotional intelligence has a huge influence on a child\u2019s upbringing and future. Some children are born with the gift of emotional intelligence, but some children need to learn it. Five elements define emotional intelligence. These are; self-awareness, self-regulations, motivation, empathy and social skills.