Emotional Intelligence

Marshmallow Research

Recently on TV you may have seen an interesting snippet about a research done originally by a psychologist, Walter Mischel in the 60s. He gave four year olds marshmallows and asked them to wait until he returned before eating them. If they could wait, he promised them an additional two marshmallows. The children did all sorts of things to try to stop themselves from eating the marshmallows. Some were able to wait while many could not control themselves.

When the same group of children finished school they were tested again. Those that had been able to wait until Mr Mischel returned received higher measures of positive behaviour and mental health and their SAT scores were 200 points higher than their marshmallow eating peers.

This experiment shows that there is a link between the ability to delay immediate gratification and academic performance. This experiment clearly shows the importance of helping children develop better self-control and better impulse control.

One aspect of Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be self-controlled and to be able to delay gratification. In her book Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children, Leonie Henig mentions other characteristics of emotionally intelligent children and outlines how we can be emotionally intelligent parents and carers. Some of her suggestions for Emotionally Intelligent parenting include:

  • Accept that all children have negative as well as positive emotions
  • Let your child know that all emotions are acceptable, but some forms of behaviour are unacceptable
  • Teach your child how to express negative emotions appropriately, and don't become anxious when your child shows negative feelings
  • Accept all your child's emotions: don't tell him that what he is feeling is wrong and that what you think he ought to be feeling is right
  • Explain that not all people react in the same way - other people might react differently in similar situations
  • Help your child solve her problems in her own way 
  • Never belittle your child's feelings
  • Take time to listen to and emphasise with your child


Useful Resources and Ideas

Did you know that Classroom Accents come in a variety of styles and are handy products to have for those times when,  as busy teachers or mums, you've run out of time and inspiration!

  • Large classic accents can be used as themed party invitations
  • Use accents as name tags for lockers or baskets
  • Highlight interesting/important facts on accents of the topic, eg lifecycle of the butterfly on Butterfly Accents
  • Get children to write the titles of books they have read on Monkey Accents to create a monkey chain which could be hung in the classroom/bedroom -  a good way to encourage reading
  • Use Pizza Pals Classic Accents to teach fractions
  • Use mini Accents for a variety of learning activities:
    • Memory games - the variety packs have sets of 4 or 6 different pictures
    • Make flash cards eg, write 2+3= on the picture side, with the answer on the back
    • Make "sight" words flash cards
    • Write words on Accents for interesting Word Walls




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