How to Teach Your Kids Emotional Intelligence

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Kids feel so much and have such a limited vocabulary. Teaching children Emotional Intelligence techniques allows them to better handle stress while helping you as a parent stress less. It may seem like a big task but once broken down it’s really easy. Make these tasks habits and you will see a big change in the way your child communicates with you.

1. Quiet time – Some days my kids are extra whiny. This is so annoying to me, they get whiny I get frustrated, they whine, I’m irritated it is a vicious cycle, and next thing you know we all need a time out. Taking time out in the morning for no reason at all works wonders. I have my kids pick a square and for 3 to 5 minutes we all sit and are still. Teaching children to pause is a very important thing in a society that values speed over quality.

2. How do you feel? This may be simple but many parents, especially of young children, don’t ask their kids how they feel. These conversations equip children with the proper vocabulary to express their feelings. For example, one can be frustrated but not angry, to children those lines may blur. Having these conversations also fosters empathy.

“Mommy, are you mad?”

“No, I am frustrated.”

“Can I help?”

“Yes, can you hand me that.”

Our vocabulary may determine if or even how our feelings have or can be changed.

3. Share how you feel. Simply sharing how you feel teaches your children how to share what they are feeling. “I feel ….. when…”

Equipping children with tools for effective communication makes them more confident and allows you to teach them how to appropriately manage their emotions.

If you enjoyed this check out How to be an Emotionally Intelligent Parent. Also, be sure to pick up a copy of my book How to Lead With Emotional Intelligence for practical application of EI in your daily life.

 

The Nurturing of Weeds

 

I was growing a weed. I am not saying that a weed sprouted up alongside my plants I am saying I watered, tended to and actively grew…a weed. In an effort to grow some peppers and cucumbers from seed I mistook this innocent looking weed as the start of a pepper or even a cucumber plant.

Let me back up a bit a weed as defined by a gardening friend as a plant you did not intend to plant, growing.  In other words, this was a weed because it was not bearing and would not bear the fruit I intended it to.

You know God showed me myself.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 I had to stop, meditate, and examine my fruit. I was not actively watering plants that would lead to this fruit. In my absentminded apathy, I’d begun to water and nurture some weeds. 

I’d begun to compare my actual husband to my perfect imaginary husband. The fruit was frustration and bitterness. My kids were too much. Too loud. Too busy. Too kid-like. The fruit was impatience. I was too busy to read the word, too busy to take time to hear from God, too busy to be grateful.  The fruit was sternness.

I’d realized what I was doing by examining the fruit of my weeds. I was taking time, energy, and intention to care for these weeds. My husband was not going to get away with not meeting the impossible standard set in my mind. My kids were going to learn to act like 30 maybe 40 years olds with good sense instead of the 6, 4, and 1 year old they are. I was going to look like I had a lot going on even IF God intended I be still after all I need to keep up appearances.My weeds were bearing fruit and they needed to be uprooted.

The next part was simple. Repentance.

God uproot these weeds! I had to intentionally pull every one of them. When I started to day dream about what perfect husband would say or do. I replaced that thought for the gratitude of what actual husband did. When I started to get impatient with the kids I would try to savor the moment and appreciate the innocent way they see the world and I would be intentional. I would be intentional in my spiritual growth. I would seek out Gods presence and study His word. When I failed at this…I would repent again because a garden full of weeds is not an option.

 

Busy or Fruitful?

As a wife, mother, caretaker, and teacher I have “busy” down. I know how to do busy. I can take on a million task willingly and sacrifice time, money and sleep to get things done. Unfortunately, one of the easiest things to overlook is my quiet time with God. Its easy to say going to services a few times a week, joining a daily prayer line and trying to commit my daily Bible verse to memory is enough, but the fact of the matter is it, isn’t.

I will use marriage as an example because my husband is the most important person in my life. If I went out with him while in a group, included him in a group conversation and only knew His characteristics by the insights others shared based on there time with him. Our marriage would be fun at times, even enlightening but it would be far from the truly intimate relationship we desire to have. How then is it okay to devalue our time with God. We should seek after Him like a bride stealing glances at her groom. Looking for opportunities to steal away.

In Luke 10:38-42 Martha, frustrated, asks Jesus to reprimand Mary for sitting in his presence rather than help her serve the group. In verse 41 Jesus says, “Martha, Martha you are worried and troubled about many things.” Busyness equates to worry and being troubled. It is not God’s will for us to be worried in fact His word says the opposite. He instructs us to give Him our cares because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Matthew 11:30 tells us God’s yoke is easy, His burden is light.

If you follow God you should not worry. Worry equals fear. Fear equals hiding or covering, more specifically burying. In Matthew chapter 25 we find a story about a man who buried what his master gave him because he was afraid. We cannot act in fear. It goes against the nature of Christ. If we bury our talents, purpose, callings even if it is by doing good things it leads to bareness in a place where God intended there be fruit.

So how then can we as believers be fruitful?

There is really only one way. Spend one on one time with God. I recently had a friend ask me what my time with God looks like. Everyone is different but I love to start with worship. I spend time acknowledging who God is, thanking Him, talking about my hopes, and concerns then I ask His will. I read His word and just sit in silence waiting for Him to give me an impression. Then I confirm if it is God by reading and studying His word.

Luke 10:42 tells us to choose the good thing, which is spending time with God. Romans 8:14 lets us know, sons of God are led by His spirit. John 10:27 lets us know that if we are Gods sheep we follow His voice. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to study the word of God.

He wants to know us and He wants us to know Him. If what you are doing does not enhance your relationship with God there is no good fruit in it.

Why I Can’t Follow My Peace




I like peace. I like things to go smoothly, people to be happy and everyone to get along. Naive? Maybe. Unrealistic? Definitely! So now I am in a position where I have to willingly disturb the peace.

When I pray, I always ask for God’s will to be done. I want what He wants and I realize that doesn’t always look like what I think it should. It does not require, my input or opinion but it does require my faith and action. It does not require my peace. 

Matthew 10:34 Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

Doing what God requires always causes division somewhere. It is human nature to measure the good against the bad and to use our wisdom to justify our actions or inaction. However, when we use God’s Word as the standard there is no justification. We WILL fall short but upon noticing where we fall short it is our duty as believers to measure ourselves against The Word and then allow God to pull us up. 

This is our cross to bear, to choose to step out of what comfortable and to do instead what is right. To stand alone if necessary to follow Christ. Not hiding behind the authority of parents or the responsibility of raising children but deciding instead to choose Christ above all else.

So how can I produce peace if I have none? Isn’t peace a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)? Peace, real peace, not the superficial fleeting peace based on feelings that change with the situation. Real peace is rooted in faith that you are doing what God wants you to do and that if you aren’t, God knowing your heart will correct you. 
Real peace is a reward for obedience, not a prerequisite for action. 


First Day of School!!!

Today was our first day of school!! I read these home school blogs where moms get up at 6 am have devotion time, make breakfast and start school all before 8 am. I admire those women and their ability to adult, let alone parent before the break of dawn but I am not that person.

So this is my schedule with the kids. I wake up carefully around 7:00 and try not to wake the AJ who sleeps with me to make nursing easier for us both. Once I successfully pry myself from my bed (I am not a morning person) I go into the kitchen, make my coffee and start breakfast (today I made pancakes with caramelized apples). By this time both SJ and KJ are up and on my heels. I feed them breakfast, talk to them about their dreams and whatever else the little people may come up with.

I then send them outside to play. I love sending them outside to play! They need the fresh air, imaginary, adventures and mommy needs some quiet time. Did I mention I am not a morning person. Well once they are in the groove of playing I finally get some quiet time with God, its about 7:45 now. I read the Bible, pray and I may read a devotion or book. Right now I am reading Rival by Lisa Bevere so far I love it.

I call them in at 8:45 to get their beds made by now the baby is up so its okay if they are loud. At 9:00 am school starts. We start with reading, geography, have a quick break then do math, science and history. Here is a look at our classroom.

This is one is the has the order of the day. 
At the bottom a string with clothespins hold their favorite pieces of work. 
It can be anything they are proud but they can only choose two I file away the rest of the work. 
SJ loves math and can tell time so she loved that I used clocks for our schedule during breakfast and throughout the day she made it a point to tell me what time each activity should start. 
She is also learning to read so the combination of the two is proving fruitful.

On the left side of the “Today Is…” chart are our super stars! Each star has the kids names on it and represents a subject we are going through. We have one for reading, math, science, history and geography. The last two subjects share a star. As the day goes on and we complete each subject the kids get to put a hang their star up. SJ is on the left, KJ is on the right. The kids love this because it helps them keep track of whats left to do for the day. They also are both very competitive so this way they work hard to get a star rather than to best the other. 
I wanted their classroom to be filled with historical pictures of people who look like them. 
They have had so much fun asking me questions about the various heroes on the wall and are inadvertently learning history in the process. 
I got both the posters and the timeline from School Specialty

I have a state and world map in my classroom (it was remounted after this picture to be flush with the wall). The kids loved hearing the story of how we came to live in California since we have gone through some other states. They also got to make their own flag today and tell me about their made up state which they thought was really fun. My map covers this bookshelf which houses all our homeschool stuff. I need to get more baskets so it could be a little more organized but the kids know where everything is. 
So far I have an… 
Art basket: colored tissue paper, glue, pipe cleaners, finger paint, chopsticks for the glue, and construction paper
A coloring basket: markers, crayons, pens, chalk, and pencils for some reason I also have play doh and a shower curtain in here. (The shower curtain makes for easy clean up when the kids play with the play doh.) 
A math games basket: tangrams, geoboards, string and beads for patterns and dot to dots
Mommy’s basket: curriculum books, and adult coloring books
The kids can access all but the top shelf any time they want. If they don’t want to play outside they can play games in the classroom. 

The last station is the math station. I have base ten blocks in the top drawer and the bottom drawer is where I store their work books. The basket below it houses a math card game, the clothespins from the previous post you can read about them here, flashcards and puzzles.

All this and I forgot to take pictures of the kids on their first day! 
I guess we will have to take second day of school pictures tomorrow. 

Planting Day!!!

We have not officially had our first day of school. I am still waiting for her school supplies from her charter school. Through the charter school I have funds allocated per semester to go towards school supplies and curriculum. This semester I ordered a lot of school supplies that I will be able to use for the next few years. Since the learning never really stops I am still doing fun teaching activities with the kids. 

Our family recently moved into a new home. Prior to that move I’d been buying various plants and seeds that we could put in a garden. The kids have been asking about these seeds but I kept putting it off. Well there was a loose pipe under the kitchen sink where I just so happened to store my seeds which caused my seed packets to be soaked through. So today became plant day, while daddy fixed the pipe. I’d asked my husband to put a cheap desk we’ve had for years outside. We then potted some rosemary, cilantro, dill and basil in pots. I have some pea seeds as well but I’m saving most of those for a pee tepee later on this fall. I did let the kids plant them in a baggie so we can watch it sprout. The baggies were then taped to the table to deter the kids from pouring out the seeds and dirt. 

After we planted the seeds the kids and I talked about what seeds need. I let them answer and ask me questions and found they new most of the basics. Even KJ (3) was able to answer questions about what plants need to grow and how all plants start. I’m hoping that as the kids see their seeds sprouts we can venture into photosynthesis and if we get SJ’s microscope in the next week or so we can even look at leaves on slides. This will naturally lead into the makings of a cell. I don’t want to push it to far. I want them to be able to understand some basic science terms though and science is all about exploration right?

The picture on the left is showing the sun, the run rays, and rain following onto the seed covered by the ground. That one is mine, I wanted them to use they materials in the art basket (shown on the table) to copy my picture to the best of their ability explaining what happens to a seed. 

They had fun. SJ did her own thing and put multiple seeds in her blue ground and KJ  tried to mimic exactly what I did. I love teaching these two!!

A Little About Me





Before getting pregnant I had a plan. I knew exactly how things would go. My husband and I had just gotten married. We would wait three years, two if I could reach my goal sooner. During that time I would work my butt off and get to the point in my career where I could work from home. I would finish my MBA and be done with school all before my first trimester of pregnancy. We would have two incomes and be financially stable so we could raise our children without much worry. Sounds good right?

Well God revealed to me that my plan had nothing to do with Him. It did not require much faith, or any room to grow closer to Him. Sure I could have penciled that into my plan but God did not want to be penciled in to my life He wanted to consume my life. Proverbs 19:21(NIV) says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose which prevails.”

My having a plan wasn’t the problem, the problem was I did not make sure my plan lined up with God’s purpose for my life. As the word of God says His purpose prevailed in my life. Six months into being married, I got pregnant and my whole world changed. I was working as a temp for an HVAC company, working on my MBA and learning the ropes on being a wife.

When I was 5 months along with my daughter, Summer, I was placed on bed rest and my husband became the sole provider for our family. It was unexpected, and it was a stretch of faith. Even then, God was using this precious baby girl to teach me to rest in Him. Being pregnant and on bed rest was one of the hardest things for me to do.

I felt fine, I looked fine but there was something going on inside of me that required me to be still. Have you ever felt God stilling you when all you want to do is run? I wanted to be out and about, I wanted to work, I had a plan, but God told me to rest and wait.


With my next pregnancy it wasn’t as hard to trust God. My husband’s job moved us to a new state, my blood work during pregnancy showed early signs of cancer and I was far away from my friends. This time I knew to trust God and rest. I could see this child, my son, was teaching me early. God blessed me with good friends, after much prayer and months of testing it was found that I did not have cancer, and my son Kristian II was born perfectly healthy.




Since then we have added third child. AJ and she is just the sweetest little baby girl. Life is still crazy, fun, and so full of joy. I see myself in my kids all the time. Not so much in their features as in their actions. I thought I was older spiritually but God is revealing to me that, at times, I don’t act much older than the children I am raising. While trying to raise children for a purpose, God is yet still raising me.


Updated 9/2016