When emotions run high, you do and say things that you would not normally do and say. In young children, it happens all the time. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to identify, understand and control your own thoughts and feelings and to communicate them appropriately to other people. Until recently, this was largely ignored as the world focused on academic achievement in childhood. New research now shows that emotional intelligence is a twice as strong predictor as IQ of later success.

Emotional intelligence includes the following:

Optimism: It refers to your child’s ability to trust that everything will go well with her and that you will take care of her.

Impulse control: It involves your child learning to procrastinate on her need satisfaction and is one of the most difficult skills to master.

Emotion recognition and control: Your child needs to learn to recognize her emotions (I’m angry now) and how to deal with them (which is why I need to go trampoline jumping now so the bad guys can get out).

Empathy: It involves the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes ─ something that is difficult for a toddler to master.

Interpersonal skills: It’s about how to be a good friend. Because children are egocentric when they are small, this facet only develops later. While they are small, it basically just involves not slapping, biting or kicking the buddy next to her.