SEMH and Emotional Intelligence

SEMH and emotional intelligence. 

I’ve been thinking about SEMH and emotional intelligence and asking myself some questions.

Is there a direct link between SEMH and emotional intelligence? How easily can emotional intelligence be taught and how could children benefit?

Most adults are aware of the term emotional intelligence. However, answering the following questions may be more challenging. What is it, how do we develop it, how does it help us?

According to Daniel Goleman, PhD, author of Emotional Intelligence (Bantam Books, 1995), there are five essential elements.

Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

I’m sure you will agree that self-esteem plays a part too.

In fact, recent research shows that higher self-awareness and self-esteem in childhood lowers the risk of mental distress, obesity, substance misuse, and unemployment in adulthood. (Source: Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) 11.03.2015).


This research demonstrates a direct link between self-awareness, self-esteem, emotional health, and life prospects.

Children who develop these skills are more likely to live happier, more fulfilled lives. Therefore, it makes sense to focus more teaching time on building these skills.

SEMH – self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation.

I believe self-understanding is the vital first step on the journey toward building emotional intelligence.

Most importantly, personal awareness helps children become more conscious of their inner-world, thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It’s also logical to assume that children who learn about their skills and talents early in life are better able to make informed choices later in life.

According to Dr Goleman, self-regulation is the ability to catch the emotional impulse and think about the consequences before reacting. He describes motivation as the ability to use emotions to persevere against obstacles and achieve goals.

It makes sense that the more self-aware a child becomes, the more they’ll be able to recognise and manage their motivations, feelings, and emotions.

In other words, self-awareness is a great place to start because it supports development of the other elements.

SEMH – empathy and social skills.

I’ve put these two together because I believe that both require an understanding of self and the wants and needs of others.

Helping children develop greater awareness of themselves is a vital step toward developing empathy and social skills. However, supporting them to recognise and appreciate the different needs of others empowers interaction and communication on a whole new level.

Therefore, an understanding of self and an awareness of how others differ can enable deeper, more meaningful relations.

Dr Goleman describes empathy as sensing the emotions of others, and social skills as the ability to manage relationships and inspire, influence others.

Clearly, both of these capabilities heavily rely on self-awareness, followed by an appreciation of the preferences and emotional needs of others.

Again, I have been drawn back to the idea that self-awareness is the starting point.

​SEMH – Mindscreen experience®.

We are confident that our SEMH resources, together with your support, will help your pupils grow in self-awareness, esteem, and confidence. They’ll get insights into what motivates and inspires them. They’ll start to discover who they are, and how others see them.

But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what Abigail Hawkins has to say.

“With a FREE Self-esteem tool available on the website, Mindscreen is off to a great start. In addition to the free tool, the full Mindscreen experience® offers a comprehensive assessment followed by an intensive program of fully resourced intervention support. The Mindscreen materials are presented such that any TA could pick them up, do a little bit of preparation and deliver a quality intervention.”

Abigail Hawkins, SENsible SENCO.
Read Abigail’s full review here.

You may also like this blog about how emotional intelligence helps children.

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Helping Children Flourish

Gav Devereux

Author bio

Being diagnosed with dyslexia, labelled remedial, and regularly told that I was a “stupid boy” affected my self-esteem as a child. I had to work hard to prove to myself that there was nothing wrong with me!

This journey led me to found Mindscreen and to develop resources to help children find their stride early in life.

Since then I’ve been involved in many youth projects, including the Scottish National Debate on Education, Columba 1400’s Head Teacher Leadership Academy, and the Entrepreneurial Spirit Project.

I’m honoured to have helped hundreds of young people to recognise their own strengths and unlock their potential.