17 Jan 7 Emotional Intelligence Skills To Teach Your Child In 2018
At the beginning of each year, many people set their intentions and create resolutions. They see the New Year as an opportunity to change something they feel stuck or unhappy within their life and hope to use January as the motivation they’ve been missing to make it happen.
Sadly, it’s estimated by University of Scranton Psychology Professor John C. Norcross that less than 10% of New Year’s resolutions are actually achieved. So instead of passing this ineffective ritual onto our children, let’s use 2018 as an opportunity to teach them the emotional intelligence skills they need to be successful every day of the year.
1. Dream Big
Believing that big dreams are possible is an important part of building confidence. Working towards achieving dreams helps young people be responsible for their choices, rather than victims of their circumstances.
Dreams become achievable through goal setting and taking action. By taking consistent small steps towards their goals, a child learns that their effort creates outcomes. Through this process, they learn that setbacks and challenges will happen. Instead of being stuck, feeling overwhelmed or giving up, they learn to change their choices.
You can help a child to dream big by encouraging them to keep a journal, make a bucket list or a UPower map. Then coach them to make choices that will give them the end result they want.
2. Cultivate A Growth Mindset
The mindset that a child has will determine the level of success they experience. A child with a Growth Mindset sees setbacks and challenges as opportunities for learning and knows that skills come with hard work, rather than being born with the abilities.
A child with a Fixed Mindset thinks they are either good at something, or not. They tend to give up easily on things that don’t come naturally and think this isn’t something they can change.
We can help cultivate a Growth Mindset in children by focusing on praising the strategy they tried, the choices they made, and the effort they put in. Let them know the character trait they used to get there. For example: ‘Great Job! I like how you chose to be determined to get the job done.’
3. Identify Emotions
Children who can identify, feel, and release emotions in a healthy way are happier, more resilient, and have richer relationships.
When a child is acting out, it’s easy to respond to their behaviour by asking, ‘Why did you say/do that?!’ Asking them ‘why’ questions usually elicit answers like:
- ‘I felt like it’
- ‘I wanted to’
- ‘It doesn’t matter anyway’
- ‘I don’t know’
- “They did this to me so I…’
Since behaviours happen because of an emotion a child is feeling, a more effective question to ask is: ‘What were you feeling when this happened?’
Ask them the emotion they are experiencing. If they don’t have the words, they can use the Elephant in the Room poster to help them identify it. Once they have identified their emotion, ask them how they can release it in a healthy way. One of my favourite ways to release my emotions is journaling. Here are some other suggestions.
Without recognizing the emotion that created the behaviour, a child is less likely to learn the self awareness necessary to tolerate and release those emotions in a healthy way.
4. Set Boundaries
As parents, we would like to save our children from challenges and difficult emotions, but that’s not possible, nor would it benefit them. They need boundaries, limits, and structures and they also need to understand that choices have consequences.
A child must experience and learn how to move through disappointment, adversity, and emotions like anger, sadness, frustration and anxiety in preparation for the challenges and struggles they will face.
Our role is to say no when appropriate and stick to it. Children hearing “no” will beg, plead, compare, get angry, and sometimes declare you are mean and they don’t like you. Creating Healthy Boundaries can be tough on us when our own emotions come into play – especially the emotion of guilt.
Find your healthy way to move through your emotions knowing that your job is to stay steadfast and endure, knowing this too will pass. In following through, we are teaching children the valuable skill of how to bounce back from upset and disappointment.
5. Encourage Positive Self-Talk
Over time what children say and repeat to themselves will determine their self confidence and ability to bounce back. It can even affect how big they allow themselves to dream.
In my UPower Journal, I teach children the following affirmations:
- I can do this. I just need to ask for help
- I choose to put in the effort. Effort pays off.
- I ask questions even when I am feeling afraid and nervous.
- I just haven’t achieved it… YET.
- I am perfectly imperfect and that’s what’s PERFECT about me!
Encourage positive self talk by helping them identify when they need to make a shift from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’. Ask them what they could say to themselves that would be more encouraging and caring.
6. Reframe Failure
The fear of failure can stop young people from putting in effort or trying something new.
Making mistakes or “failing” is a necessary part of the learning process and an opportunity for developing creativity, problem solving, and growth. Failure only happens when they give up.
Four ways to help them refocus on being confident and determined:
- Talk to them about the emotions they are experiencing.
- Remind them of their healthy ways to move through their emotions and fears.
- Ask what positives they have learned from their experience.
- Discuss what they would do differently next time.
7. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is a powerful character trait and a great way to shift from negative emotions to more positive ones.
Studies have shown that even small expressions of gratitude can increase optimism, positivity, and connectedness. These are essential in developing strong character and healthy wellbeing.
Some simple ways to help children build the skill of gratitude include:
- Asking what they are grateful for from their day.
- Starting a daily gratitude journal.
- Sharing handwritten thank you notes when someone does something kind and thoughtful.
Instilling emotional intelligence skills develops confidence. resilience and emotional and mental well-being.
Until next time….