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.
Have you heard of Emotional Intelligence? It’s a buzzword that has been going around the past few years. Heres the scoop. It basically means the ability to control one’s emotions and even the emotions of others. So the higher your Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) the better you are at keeping a grip on life. Pretty cool right!
So here are some tips on how to use Emotional Intelligence to thrive as a parent.
Be Aware: Wake up, feed kids, brush teeth, clean, school time, snack time, clean, homework, dinner, clean….repeat. If you are like me throw in some breastfeeding sessions, diaper changes, errands, phone calls and meds (for grandma). Wait! What about “me time”? Sometimes we can get so into the routine of the daily grind that we forget to check in with ourselves. It is so important to take out at least a few minutes alone to see how we are feeling and most importantly why?
Be Real: When you don’t know how you feel its easy to speak with more or less force than may be required when communicating with your kids. Good news is you can always stop and ask yourself, “Is your response really the best response”? If not simply apologize. Our kids are learning how to adult by what they see us do more than what they hear us say. So take time to slow down and self-correct.
Be Honest: Why do you feel the way you do? Is your child really doing something harmful or are they simply being a child? Are you frustrated, tired, or overworked? Ha! That last one is not a real question. Of course, you are! This means you may be acting out of your feelings rather than your child’s actions. I once heard it said that kids get in more trouble at the end of the day not because the kids are worse but because the parents are tired. Try to make it a habit to give more grace as the day goes on.
Be A Kid: Take out some time to play. Seriously! Taking time to play with kids makes it easier to think like one. When you try to see the world through a child’s eyes you open up the door for grace. One of my favorite things to do is to have my kids take pictures with my camera. As I scroll through I am able to see things from their perspective and it really helps me appreciate their worldview. In fact, all but the first and last picture in this post were pictures taken by my kids. Even AR (18 mos) got in on the fun.
Be Realistic: There is no such thing as a perfect kid, and there is no such thing as a perfect parent. However, in order for you to have the best relationship with your child you need to be able to look inside yourself and understand your behavior so you can better shape the behavior of your child.