Have you seen this picture popping up around Facebook these past few weeks? I know I have and it makes me really hopeful that we (society) are finally catching on to what really matters!
So the next question you may be asking is how do we help our children with such an enormous task? Besides loving the heck out of them, I have put together a list of 5 ways you can help raise your child's emotional intelligence.
1.Talk to your child about their feelings. The good, the bad and the ugly. Label their feelings and yours so they understand what emotions look like.
2. If you take any of my classes, you know that I always say the best way to get our children to X is to model that behavior ourselves. It is no different in this domain. Show your children what healthy emotions look like AND healthy coping strategies. Commentate like a sports announcer so they can understand what you are feeling and doing.
3. Allow your child to express a wide range off emotions, even the scary ones. You don't always have to accept their behaviour, but you should always accept their feelings. Try not to stifle their feelings by telling them 'its no big deal' or 'it wasn't that bad' etc...
4. Consider having a "calm down zone" in your house where kids can go recharge. Things in your calm down zone could include books, lava lamps, plush toys etc. Make it a place where they feel safe and can practice their 'self-soothing' skills.
5. Use books and toys to play out "stressful" situations with your child. Help them problem solve in this safe space, so they know how to react when they are confronted with a stressor in real life. Books and other therapeutic tools can greatly enhance your child's understanding of their own feelings and can open up some pretty important dialogue that may not come up in regular conversation.
I want to introduce you to one such therapeutic tool that I recently discovered. It is the Express It Buddy from Discovery Toys. This toy is seriously one of the reasons I joined DT as an educational consultant. I know from experience working with children, that these toys are extremely difficult to come by but so incredibly valuable. Check out what the company says are the benefits of this toy. If you think this is something you must have for your home, in your practice or for the children you work with you can purchase it on my website www.discoverytoys.com/PlayLadyCarolynn It is on sale right now for $46 CDN until the end of February. If you want help selecting other products that can help you assist your child with their emotional development I would love to chat with you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Express It! Buddy