With emotional intelligence a hot topic in the world’s of parenting and education I thought I would put together 26 of the best activities parents, caters and teachers can do to allow children to feel emotional grounded.
The idea is that we build skills within the children in our care to allow them to deal with the problems that world has to offer without crumbling. We want our future leaders to have a good grasp on soft skills such resilience, empathy, research, understanding and cooperation before we even think about taking their education to astronomical heights.
“A child with solid foundations will grow to be the strongest and tallest tree in the forest but, forget to lay the roots and you’ll find that during one small storm, that tree can easily fall over.”
Here’s your A to Z of emotional well-being:
A – Appreciate
Make sure that your child has perspective of the things that they have. Their family, their health, food on the table. A global perspective is what we need to instil in our children. Travel, read, look. Show examples of how others live and build empathy. Be thankful for what you’ve got, not angry about what you don’t have.
B – Build Something
Allowing your child to have a dream, a vision of something they’d like to create. A rocket, a go-kart or a wendy house. Allow them to make that dream become reality by set steps to success. Design, resources, tools, procedure, result. On the way there will be heartache, time constraints, failure. But a whole lot of learning will take place too.
C – Connect
Understand that our children need real tangible connections. Take them to the part of town they never visit and make friends at the swings. Let them visit the old people’s home to read to the pensioners and get them to feel that they are part of the big wheel we call society. For the sooner they realise their place, they’ll take on the responsibility that goes with that.
D – Do the Difficult Stuff
The world isn’t all roses and baby’s faces. There are some difficult things we need to do. Having conversations with someone you’ve hurt to say sorry, cleaning the house before we go for a walk or dealing with death in the family. Talk through the reasons why these things happen, don’t hide them away in a drawer to be revealed later because your children will learn them from somewhere, it might as well be you. Enable your children to take in these difficult moments and build that strength f character.
E – Explore
Take time to plane trips. Have a globe in the house and discuss the world. Where would you like to go? Why? Watch documentaries and dream of travel. At every opportunity get out of the city to where the green stuff is and I’m not talking about a park. I mean nature. Trees, rivers, mud, insects, animals and clear air. All your child to find out about the planet and understand it’s importance in our existence and survival. Let’s cultivate children who save our environment, not destroy it.
F – Forgive
To hold a grudge or anger against another only causes you more stress and tension. We must allow our children to have an understanding of other people’s intentions and perspectives. Once our children can put themselves in another’s shoes they can start to forgive. Yes maybe tommy kicked you at playtime but do you know why? Let’s find out and maybe we can forgive him. The feeling of forgiveness always makes us all feel better.
G – Gather
Organise family get togethers, picnics and always have dinner around the table with no technology. Allow your child to organise these gatherings, setting the table, calling uncle Tony to ask him over for a picnic or planning the menu. To bring groups together allows you to observe your child in their natural free play stare without the pressures of the unknown. Giving ownership over these events allows them to take some responsibility towards the success (and the cleanup) process.
H – Honour
Children need to understand that these freedoms, liberties and rules have not come easy. From the wars that have been fought to the fact that grandad worked hard to help us buy our first house need to be told and celebrated. This allows children to develop a sense of respect but more importantly allows them to feel that what they do now, will impact those who come afterwards. “What mark are you going to leave on this Earth?”
I – Ignore the Naysayers
Children always dream big. Whether it’s becoming and astronaut or saving the Amazon. They always dream big without limitations. We must keep fuelling those dreams by throwing wood on the fire but also explain to our children that there will be sceptics. People said that the internet wasn’t possible, or walking on the moon was a fallacy but they all happened. Tell them to dream big and hold onto those dreams for one day they may be able to make them come true.
J – Just be
The world today is all about that drive for recognition. Likes, shares and comments. Instant gratification takes us away from the sense that to be creative or to restore our sense of well-being, we must have time to just be ourselves, in our own head with our own thoughts. Allow your children to be bored. No television, no tech, no stories, no nothing. Allow them to think, to create, to dream. “From great moments of boredom, come extraordinary moments of clarity and creativity.”
K – Know You are Loved
There are people who love you, need you and rely on you. In the classroom children will save seats for each other, invite discuss friends to join their club and hold their hands. Make sure that you encourage this. These friendships and circumstances allow for unique bonds to take hold allowing children to feel their place in the class and the school. Most of all let the children know that you love them and you only want what is best for them.
L – Listen (actively)
It is so important for children to have a chance to have a voice that is heard and more importantly responded to. Make a place in your daily routine where children can have a voice or opinion, such as group or circle time. Model active listening where a response is given based directly on the statement made. Modelling active listening allows for children to understand that there is a time to respond to another’s voice and that is when they have finished talking. Adults can leave obvious gaps in their speech to allow children to understand the meaning of the word conversation.
M – Make something
There is an old saying I’m sure you have heard before; “What is work to an adult is play to a child.” Children love to mimic their parents and teachers. To us, sweeping the floor is a mindless, boring chore that we have to undertake, but to a child this is a fun game for them to pretend to be like you. With this in mind, whenever there are repairs to be done in the home – a shelf to build, a cupboard to assemble or a car to fix – allow children to lend a hand, even if it is just to pass you the tools or hammer in a nail. The sense of achievement and teamwork they will get from this small act will stay with them for many years.
N – Nourish your Body and Soul
The old saying ‘we are what we eat’ and as children start to make choices for themselves it’s important that they understand what fuels the body. What foods and drinks will help us sustain this state of health? Allow children to come shopping and make decisions about what goes in their lunchbox. Allow them to not only choose their food, but allow them to make it. If they bought it, chose it and prepared it, there’s a better chance that they will eat it. And along the way a lot of learning will surely take place. And once your body is healthy, your mind will follow. Model healthy lifestyles to your children and these healthy routines will last a lifetime.
O – Observe
Take time to point out the smaller things in life. When you see a caterpillar crawling on a leaf, grab the magnifying glass and take a closer look. Take time to smell a flower and discuss its scent but most important of all take time to observe yourself and how you are? Are you taking time out, down time, are you having enough rest? Eating healthy etc. don’t forget your child will follow your lead, if you sit down to read each afternoon with the television switched off, so will they. Model the behaviour you wish to view in your child.
P – Plant something
It’s the greatest lesson there is. Grab a seed and some soil and plant it. Then sit back and watch it grow. Give your children the job of watering it each day, measure it, take a photo each day. Talk about the fundamentals for life and healthy growth. Change the seeds position if need be, alter it’s environment. Then relate the seed to a human being. If things are not going well, let’s change something. Children need to know that they are connected to nature and as a human being we cannot live without the wonders that nature provides for us. Ultimately our key to success is our environment and we must take time to make it perfect for our existence.
Q – Question Everything