Fostering Emotional Intelligence Early On: Montessori Toys Can Help
Emotional intelligence. It has been a buzzword for quite a while. So much so that even job recruiters rank it as one of the top 10 skills employers are looking for. Unlike many other buzzwords you can come across, this one… is actually more than that.
It’s an actual skill that can give you a decent advantage in life – both personal and professional. Studies show that kids who learn about their emotions early on can think and remember better. Certain experts even say understanding your emotions is as important as retaining school knowledge for later success.
When it comes to helping kids with this, Montessori toys are a game-changer. They're designed to help kids grasp emotions.
What Is Emotional Intelligence Anyway?
Emotional intelligence is a skill that helps people understand their feelings and the feelings of others. And not only understand but control as well. It goes from recognizing and labeling them all the way to finding the best ways to react in various situations.
Emotional intelligence starts developing at an early age. You can notice it in children when they start considering circumstances before they lose their temper.
Early on, children rarely notice other people’s feelings. However, after a while, children start detecting other people’s emotions. Encouraging them to understand and respect other people’s feelings is how you raise emotionally intelligent children.
Why is Emotional Intelligence so Important for Children?
Emotional intelligence is important for children because it helps them get to know themselves and take control of their emotions over time. That way, children are less nervous when talking to other kids, more focused during conversations, and more self-aware about how they come across to others.
You want your child to communicate better with others? Learn more in less time? Surprise you with their academic achievements? Who doesn’t, right? You don’t need to send your child to a special academy or play Mozart while they’re sleeping.
All you need to do is let them get in touch with their feelings. And no, it’s not as sappy as it might sound.
Think about it: life isn’t just about reading and math; it's also about understanding why we feel the way we do and how to react. As parents, our goal is to prepare our kids for all aspects of life, and emotional smarts are a big part of that.
These skills allow kids to bridge thinking and feeling. Just imagine your child being able to pinpoint their emotions. Like "Why am I upset?" or "Why does my buddy seem down today?" and then taking the right steps based on those insights. That’s not just cute. It’s foundational for their growth as people.
What Are the Benefits of Emotional Development?
Proper emotional development in children helps them achieve academic success and nurture relationships with their peers. It also helps them understand and have more control over their emotions, which allows them to make better decisions as they grow.
Remember when you were just a kid, feeling nervous about that first solo bus ride or sad about leaving your best friends behind because of a move? What did your parents do to make things easy for you? Did they talk about it with you or leave you thinking you’d figure it out?
Whether it’s just mom, dad, or both parents or caregivers, their approach matters.
Understanding emotions at a young age can be like a superpower. When children understand why they’re feeling a certain way in a certain situation, they’ll be able to take control of their emotions. That will allow them to make better choices and work well with others.
But hold on, you want specific examples? Say no more! Here’s why diving into emotions is important:
- Schoolwork becomes a breeze: When kids have a grip on their emotions, they learn smarter. They’re also more motivated and focused. Their grades become a lot better with less effort.
- Making friends gets easier: Children who know their emotions get along with each other like a charm. They are wonderful team players and don’t have many silly disagreements with their friends and classmates.
- Strong bonds everywhere: Not everything on our list is about school. With a good understanding of feelings, they form tight bonds with family members, other kids in the neighborhood, and everyone they meet.
Your job as a parent is to help your child get hold of their emotions and develop properly. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use some help to do so. Ever heard of the Montessori method?
What’s the Montessori Approach to Learning?
The Italian doctor Maria Montessori developed the Montessori approach to child education in the early 1900s. It focuses on self-paced, explorative learning for children. Montessori encourages children to explore and learn on their own using specialized toys and environments.
Montessori is a unique teaching method that's all about letting kids be curious and learn at their own pace. Maria Montessori, the expert this method was named after, believed in treating kids as eager learners, not just kids who sit and listen.
What's cool about Montessori? It's all about giving kids the driver's seat in their own learning. A lot of parents like this because it feels natural and just follows how kids grow.
A big part of Montessori is the special toys and spaces created specifically to stimulate kids in a way they learn everything quickly. Montessori classrooms are designed to make kids want to play, explore, and learn on their own.
Oh, and the toys? They’re no ordinary toys. They’re hand-picked to help kids think, feel, and play in ways that teach them more about themselves and the world.
How Montessori Toys Help Emotional Intelligence?
Montessori toys are designed to improve emotional intelligence by encouraging communication, enhancing self-awareness, and promoting empathy. Through interactive play, children learn how to express their own emotions and recognize other people’s feelings.
Even without knowing much about Montessori, you were aware that kids learn a lot while playing. With Montessori toys, learning becomes easier. Here’s how Montessori toys help children as young as 12 months start getting a hold of their emotions:
- Communication and social skills: Picture books are great for helping your baby go to sleep. However, these aren’t just pretty pictures collected in a book. This Montessori Baby Cloth Book, for instance, can help your child learn their first words and understand complex connections between people.
- Empathy and compassion: Children often act out social situations they’ve seen with their toys. Through time, they start making up new scenes. That way, they learn how to resolve potential social problems that may happen in the future.
- Self-awareness: A good Montessori toy is like a mirror. A child will play with it and learn about themself. Toys like this shape-sorting Montessori Learning Rocket will challenge your child's patience and teach them how to take control of emotions and focus on the task at hand.
Montessori toys do more than keep children’s little hands busy. They serve as a stepping stone from solitary play to engaging with others and becoming active members of society.
The mantra of Montessori toys is “less is more.” Instead of wasting hundreds of dollars on multiple trendy toys, you can pick just a couple of Montessori toys and keep your child engaged. Having fewer toys can make your child happy and teach them important skills for the future.
The best place to start is our collection of Montessori toys for babies.
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