monthly action plan: emotions
12 powerful and practical ideas to help your child to develop their 'positive' emotional intelligence
Our mission this month is to help you to help your child develop their emotional intelligence, with a particular emphasis on positive emotions.
In this article we give you 12 practical ideas that will help you to create a home environment where emotional development is a focus as well as ideas that will help your child be more positive.
1. it starts with you
The holy grail when it comes to teenagers is to have one that talks to you!
Well, if you want your child to be emotionally open and willing to discuss their life and their problems, it helps if you are that way too.
It doesn't have to be any more complex than telling them once a day how you are feeling and the different emotions that you felt during the day.
2. ask them about how they are feeling (and get specific)
Ask your child how they are feeling (on the way to school/ way back and the dinner table. If you've read our article on the importance of being PRECISE with your emotions, you'll know that it helps your child's brain develop better tools for dealing with life's challenges.
Don't settle for monosyllabic non-specific answers like 'good' and 'fine' help them be more specific and precise.
This activity is a great way to help your child to develop their emotional vocabulary.
3. watch what you say
Try not to label emotions as either 'good' or 'bad'.
The truth is, they are what they are- information for you to do something with.
It's important to recognise too that emotions come and go, they aren't permanent.
4. start the day
in a positive way
It's incredibly important to help kids to start their day off in a positive emotional state. as according to Positive Psychologist Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, it helps to generate an upward spiral of positive emotions.
Her research has found that the emotion that you feel now, helps to drive the next emotion that you feel- hence creating this upward spiral.
Buy this month's FULL Life Skill Report and you'll get an activity and a 21 Day Challenge that will help your kids start their day in a positive way.
5. end the day
in a positive way
We like to help our kids to frame their day in a positive way too.
We live so much of our lives on autopilot that we never really stop to appreciate the things that we do and when we do, we rarely give ourselves much in the way of credit.
We like to ask our kids a simple question each night before bedtime that helps them to stop, recognise and appreciate the day, building positive moments that would otherwise just be forgotten.
21 day challenge:
Want to help your child be more positive?
Why not take our 21 Day Challenge and help them to build their own POSITIVITY PORTFOLIO.
6. teach them empathy
Empathy is such a vital skill for our kids. It has been shown to breed courage, help kids be happier, better problem solvers and that all important work skill: be team players.
Reading fiction is a great way to help kids to see the world through someone else's eyes we try and make reading a pre-bedtime priority (which works most nights!).
One other great thing to do is to make a donation to a children's or youth charity. We recently decided to give an amount away and researched 2 different charities then all voted on the proportion we would donate to each. It really made the kids appreciate the work that each charity was doing and the fact that there are other kids out there who aren't quite so lucky.
7. help them develop their self compassion
Self-compassion encourages you to acknowledge your flaws and limitations, it allows you to look at yourself from a more objective and realistic point of view. It's from this starting point that you can actually make changes and improve.
So, whenever your child makes a mistake, remind them that that's ok: we all do and there is no growth without them. Whenever they are hard on themselves, remind them that that are good enough and that they are loved.
When you buy this month's FULL report, we have a lovely activity that will help your child to develop their self-compassion.
8. let them experience negative emotions
Sometimes we dismiss or belittle our children's negative emotions without realising that we are denying them the opportunity to learn how to cope with challenging feelings.
This is a nice infographic highlighting words we say and some better alternatives.
This is a fantastic article which details a 5-step process you can use when you see that your child is experiencing a difficult emotional time.
9. celebrate the good stuff
We are big fans of trying to motivate our kids by giving them credit when they do well. We try and catch them doing good stuff. By good stuff we mean behaviour that will help them to create good habits or develop key skills and attributes.
So, when you catch your kid displaying behaviour such as self-control, delayed gratification, being kind, self-respect, self-compassion, positive attitude etc... tell them "well-done" and give 'em a big hug or a high five.
10. aaand the bad stuff
Based on our previous point, you might be wondering what we are talking about here.
By 'bad stuff' we mean when things going wrong, we have negative experiences, we fail at something, or are rejected.
We often see this as 'bad', but in reality these experiences are just feedback.
As such, they present an opportunity to learn from something that didn't go to plan.
This type of attitude is essential for our kids to thrive in our modern world, so celebrate when things go wrong, and help them to work out how to put it right... next time.
For this we have developed a 123 process that we use with our kids, check it out here.
11. a power phrase
the inner critic
We all have that inner critic... you know the voice that says you can't do this or you always do that... well believe it or not that voice is only trying to help.
Your inner critic sounds like a bad thing but, they just want to protect you from the negative feelings you get when you don't get the results you want.
Unfortunately, by saying these words, your inner critic helps to create the very thing it was trying to avoid in the first place.
So, whenever you hear that negative voice it's useful to have an instant riposte handy... mine is "Thank you, but I CAN do this."
Spend 5 mins now helping your child to develop their personal power phrase.
12. be in the now
Focus on the now instead of the future or past. Depression comes from when we dwell on what went wrong in the past, whilst anxiety is the product of worrying about the future. Teach your child that we only ever have the present moment with this lovely book (affiliate link) from The Power of Now author Eckhart Tolle.
don't let your kids sleepwalk into their future
In a world where a traditional education is no longer a competitive advantage, we'll help you to teach your kids the skills they need to thrive in school and beyond.