December 1, 2021
Oh boy, the holiday season is upon us! As you are reading this maybe you went straight to your Emotional State or even down into your Survival State. If we are feeling this as adults, imagine how our children are coping. While we are dealing with the added stress of trying to make everything perfect (this is the time of year when I really dislike Martha Stewart), children are going to school with extra stress also.
Did you know that 50% of children under the age of 5 have spent half of their life with no social opportunities? And yet we expect them to go to school and succeed. I recently listened to a webinar featuring Dr. Donna Housman, founder and CEO of The Housman Institute, and she spoke about The Power of Emotional Intelligence from Birth to Age 8.
Dr. Housman adamantly stressed how powerful teachers are! You are the ones who are guiding our children through this national state of emergency on children’s mental health. You are the ones that can change the trajectory of a child’s mental health! Let’s explore how you may be already doing this and how you can strengthen the skills you already have.
Children are born to learn. Research has shown that 90% of the brain is developed before Pre-K. Every second a million new neural connections are formed in the young child’s brain – if they are not connected by experiences and interactions they will not connect and be lost forever. Each time that you interact with a child, you are helping those neurons connect!
How we manage our emotions is how children learn how to manage theirs. When we take that breath and self-regulate, children are taking it in – we always remember that we have to deal with our state before we can help the child deal with theirs. What else can we do?
Participate in problem solving
Use emotional situations as opportunities to talk about emotions and label them
Validate the child’s emotions
In the past scientists have always stressed the importance of a child’s I.Q. Today, the importance of the E.Q. (Social & Emotional Learning Skills) is the focus. Did you know that a child’s E.Q. determines 80-90% of their success in school, their career, and their life? The other 10-20% is determined by I.Q! There is a direct link between emotions and learning.
Dr. Housman spoke about the skills that we can strengthen in children to help them identify their emotions.
Recognition and Identification – labeling the feeling
Understanding – what the emotion is you are feeling and naming it
Expression – non-verbal (hugs, smiles, frown), verbal (I am…)
Regulation – manage & cope with emotions and responses
This reinforces what we learned from Kim Hughes, Conscious Discipline Master Instructor, this past April at our Feel Your Feelings workshop where she introduced the concept of Emotional Intelligence and the Mood Meter tool. The Mood Meter can help all of us identify and name what we are feeling.
In order for a child to be successful and have balance, there must be a positive connection between the teachers, directors, and parents. This collaborative relationship sends a united message for the children by using common language between home and school. Housman used the following correlation: A child cannot balance a 3-legged stool without the other 2 legs. He needs the unconditional love and support of his home family and his school family to succeed.
Are you willing to be that person who models and guides a child and his family to fill their tool boxes with the necessary skills to manage their emotions? YOU are powerful!
During this holiday season please take the time to pause and reflect on what is truly important. Those gifts cannot be bought at a store, they come from your heart.
As always, until next time, I wish you well,