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Emotional Intelligence And Emotional Vocabulary: Secrets To A Good EQ

Do you THINK first?


Do you FEEL first?

“We are not thinking machines, rather feeling machines that think.”
- Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio

A girl who flaunts her supercars and fancy house on Facebook is the one who desires real friends.

It's all about digging deeper and understanding one's emotions, which people fail to do. For instance, at times, we fail to recognise what the other person is saying and start arguing. That is a big sign of low emotional intelligence.

A reason for low emotional intelligence is limited emotional vocabulary.

Imagine you don't have the words to associate with the things you feel.

How difficult will it be for you to understand your emotions? A lot! Think about it.

Nalanda International School is an English medium school in Vadodara. We focus on helping our students identify their emotions from an early age. Our approach helps them become better leaders of tomorrow.

An emotionally intelligent leader is the one who guides others on the way and achieves success through teamwork in every stage of life.

Moving further, we will help you develop a sense of emotional intelligence in your children to nurture them become mindful communicators and self-aware leaders.

Why Is Emotional Vocabulary Important?

According to the Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL), “A large and complex feeling vocabulary allows children to make finer discriminations between feelings; to better communicate with others about their internal affective states, and to engage in discussions about their personal experiences with the world” (1)

So, let's first understand the meaning of emotional vocabulary.

Emotional vocabulary is the collection of words that a child uses to express the feelings and reacts to the events occurring around it.

As parents and teachers, we feed our children with words which they can use when they feel emotions like happiness, sadness, and anger.

According to scientific studies, it's common in 2-year-old children to understand the essential feelings such as happiness, anger, fear, surprise and sadness.

However, we overlook the broad vocabulary of sentiments that's available, which later results in our children feeling the shortage of words to associate with their emotions. The result is a vulnerable individual.

Here's another example of how valuable being emotionally intelligent is going to get in the future.

A recent World Economic Forum report predicts that Emotional Intelligence will become one of the top ten skills for employees by 2020.

A child has to learn to sense and understand others' emotions. It is an essential step in a child's social development. Friendships - which are the first relations that your child makes once he gets out in the world, are solely based upon how well your children catch the emotional cues and how well they respond to the others around them.

How Do Children Develop Emotional Literacy?


Four-year-old Ayan is drawing a scenery in his drawing book. The drawing teacher asks him what he is drawing, to which he replies "I am drawing the sunset I saw yesterday." Later, the teacher comes to know that he wants it to be the best in the class. Ayan keeps working but goes sad when he colours the building blue. However, he tries to mend it. The emotions keep building up, and after a while, the bell rings and the class is over. Ayan, to his frustration, tears the paper on which he was drawing!

Now imagine this,

If Ayan would have communicated to the teacher in the first place about the wrong colour he used, then the teacher could have come up with some solution. Ayan chose not to talk, which allowed his emotions to build up.

Lack of emotional literacy? Of course!

Emotional literacy can develop only after a child can put together two skills - identifying someone's emotions and responding to these emotions. The constant brushing by exposure to social experience helps a child learn the art of emotional literacy. Children develop emotional literacy when adults take time and effort to teach them cognitively, relational vocabulary, which helps them understand the world around them for everyday problem-solving.

As good parents and responsible teachers from the best English medium school in Vadodara, we must help children start the process of building emotional literacy from an early age.

Activities That Can Help Children Increase Emotional Vocabulary


Children learn what we teach them. However, we can't ignore the fact that they learn more from what's happening around them.

For instance: It will be a good idea to use words to express how they feel when the electricity goes off, instead of shouting in frustration or crying on the floor, right?

"Daddy, this is making me angry. I am not sure if I will be able to watch today's episode of Man vs. Wild. You need to do something about this." Well, your child just acted mature enough to understand his/her emotions and convey them to you for a solution.

This reaction will depend on how you treat situations or the activities you introduce to teach emotional intelligence, verbal communication and social skills to your child. However, before starting the big task, it's necessary to consider and evaluate certain things.

  • Teaching emotional vocabulary is difficult when face-to-face reciprocal interactions are less.
  • Social gender norms have to end. Talking more about how someone feels is never masculine or feminine. It's human!
  • Parents have to realize that every time they indulge in technology ignoring their children, they are missing empathy-building opportunities. This time is important.

Some other ways to help children increase their emotional literacy are:

  1. Buy a register and start writing down a long list of sentiments. Sit with your child and brainstorm, surf the web, watch videos and find out all the emotions. Search the emoji keyboard on your phone and associate a face with every feeling you have mentioned.
  2. There are certain feelings that children can't recognize by reading a word. Try attaching a sound with all the feeling you just jotted down. Educate your child about the different sounds a person makes while feeling something. For example: Teach them about the various sighs that are correlated when suffering fatigue, sad, frustrated and irritated.
  3. Tell children to read more books. Books are an essential part of building emotional literacy. Some good books are capable of helping your child figure out exactly how the main character is feeling in certain situations. If your child is gathering these emotions, then you are on the right track!
  4. You can play emotional charades with your children. Allow your children to pick an emotion and convey it to other players just with the help of their body and the face.
  5. Encourage your children to keep a "feeling journal". A "feeling journal" can be a great way to keep track of their emotions and situations when they feel an emotion.
  6. Role-play and skits are one of the best ways to develop an emotional vocabulary. Write scripts about situations that are common in day-to-day life and use the words that you listed down earlier. Your child will learn how to react in those situations without losing their minds. English medium schools in Vadodara like Nalanda International School organise and expose students to participate in skits throughout the year to help them learn emotional intelligence by improving their emotional vocabulary.

The takeaways:

The girl who showed off her supercars and fancy house on Facebook earlier will no longer consider "boasting" as a quality that can help her win friends.

Ayan will no longer yell and get frustrated when he picks the wrong colour. He will know that he should be asking the teacher for help.

When a child is emotionally intelligent with a broad emotional vocabulary, he/she has ample opportunities to work on his/her emotions and interact with his/her peers. Strengthening emotional vocabulary also allows students to benefit more from all the activities that are being done at school or at various camps.

Nalanda International School, an English medium school in Vadodara, encourages a blended learning approach and aims to create an atmosphere that promotes debates.

Nalanda International School is recognised as the best English medium school in Vadodara. Contact us today to know more about us!

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