Definitions, Difficult Topics, Easy Action Items, Executive Functions Training, Parent Tips, The Happy Student Podcast

#105 Emotional Games with Alison Smith

We so often value logic and discount the value of emotions – well not today! Today, parent coach Alison Smith tells us about the importance of emotions and gives us ideas on how to help our kids develop their emotional intelligence.

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The importance of emotional intelligence is beyond just knowing that we have emotions and your children have emotions, so we need to deal with them.

Emotional Quotient (EQ) is our emotional intelligence. Our EQ is a better predictor of our future success than IQ.

When we are unable to identify within ourselves a particular emotion that we are feeling, it stays stuck inside. So, we don’t deal with it in a proactive and healthy manner. 

When we can pinpoint the exact emotion that we are experiencing, we can physically feel a change. It feels lighter and less intimidating. We can grow in our confidence, take a deep breath, and feel more ready to take on what we are faced with. 

In the English language there are about 30,000 words related to emotions. But, we typically only use about twelve words. Until we can state the emotion that is very specific to what we are feeling, we are still stuck. The emotion will then grow until we explode, leak, or both. 

By growing our emotional vocabulary development and recognizing it within ourselves and others we grow our empathy towards what it is others are experiencing. If we can pinpoint the emotions others are feeling (or take our best guess), then we can almost immediately feel more compassion towards them. Our interactions and communication will then be very different once we get a sense of where they are coming from. This can change relationships at home between parents with their children, couples, and parents with grandparents.  

Alison recommends a card game called You EQ that can help build one’s EQ.

  • There are cards called Conversational EQ because we are using conversation to develop our intelligence and also using conversation in the real world after the game.
  • Each card has an emotion on it. The simplest way to play is to identify the feeling that you have on your card and then say something about your thinking in relation to the emotion.  
  • There is no big conversation about it. There isn’t any feedback for each other, besides saying, “Thanks for sharing.”
  • This game should ideally be played several times a week for approximately ten minutes. It can be played with your kids, colleagues, work team, etc.
  • This game will help retrain your brain and improve conversation. 
  • There are about five different ways to play with each deck and each deck has a different focus. So, there is always something new. 

Other recommendations:

  • Today I Feel…: An Alphabet of Feelings
    • This book helps grow your child’s emotional vocabulary, which is an important starting place for emotional intelligence. 
  • The Ungame 
    • This is a non-competitive board game that works on improving your social and communication skills.  

References & Resources:

Alison Smith Parent Coach

You EQ Games

The Ungame

Today I Feel…: An Alphabet of Feelings

Michele Borba’s book: UnSelfie: How Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All About Me World

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

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Great for All Ages, Parent Tips, Stress Management, The Happy Student Podcast

#102 How To Be Happy and Fulfilled So Your Kids Are Too

Our kids do as we do. And what we want for them is to be happy and fulfilled. So, if they’re going to be like us, we need to be happy and fulfilled so they can be. Easier said than done. Fireborn’s got 7 tips that intertwine so you can do multiple at a time for maximum happiness efficiency, so that your kids can learn how to be just like you.

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  1. Give yourself some quiet time.
    1. Take time to meditate, to reflect on the day, and to daydream, and maybe to practice some yoga.
    2. You can specifically set aside time for quiet time in a specific place and your kids know they are not to bother you while you are there (or they can quietly join you in your quiet time).
      1. Put on some classical music that is a cue to your kids that it is your reflection time. If your kids interrupt or ask, definitely tell them what you are doing and why. They will start to interrupt you less and less and they may even start to join you.
  2. Put the phone and social media away.
    1. The real problem is “reverse FOMO”. You’re not missing out on anything online. But by always being online you’re missing out on life.
    2. So stop the scrolling and live in the real world more often.
    3. This gives more time for that quiet reflection.
  3. Spend more time having conversations with people (in person if possible).
    1. Use phones to make plans to hang out with people, but avoid using it to catch up. If you can’t meet up in person, a phone call is way better than texting.
    2. That personal connection is so much more powerful and healthy and joy-producing than seeing life updates on Instagram.
  4. Give and get a lot of hugs (with consent obviously).
    1. As Eric Barker puts it, “Hugs make you happier.”
  5. Make plans and do stuff together with your friends.
    1. Don’t just talk with your friends, do stuff together! Learn a new activity together!
    2. Eric says, “Someone else is not doing cooler things than you because they have “more time”. It’s because they have different priorities.”
  6. Have a hobby and make sure your leisure time is high quality.
    1. Hobbies are things we are passionate about. Things we like to do, skills we like to learn, and challenges we like to overcome.
  7. Remember to focus on your values.
    1. People are prioritizing doing cool stuff because that is what they value.
    2. We don’t even think about how to spend our free moments. Somehow it just happened that every time we have a second, we check our phone. So you have to figure out what you value and remind yourself of those values to get  motivated to not check and scroll forever and to do that cool stuff instead. You have to be intentional with your time.

Reference:

Barker, E. (2019) This is the most powerful way to make your life fantastic. Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Want to be the first to know when a new episode is released? Click here to subscribe to The Happy Student on iTunes!

Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!

Difficult Topics, Executive Functions Training, Great for All Ages, Stress Management, The Happy Student Podcast

#101 Emotional Control

It can be really difficult for kids to focus on school work when they’re having social troubles and yet sometimes we have to sit through class or study for a test even though we are going through tough times. We have to be able to control our emotions in order to get stuff done. Learning to control our emotions when it’s hard requires learning how to do that when our emotions aren’t out of control. Fireborn’s got 6 tips to help you help your kid control their emotions when times are easy so that they are easier to control when times are hard.

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Peg Dawson and Richard Guare state that you have good emotional control if you agree with the following three statements:

1.     My emotions seldom get in the way when performing on the job.

2.     Little things do not affect me emotionally or distract me from the task at hand.

3.     I can defer my personal feelings until after the task has been completed.

It can be really difficult for kids to focus on school work when they’re having social troubles, maybe they just had a fight with their friend or maybe they didn’t do well on a test and they feel anxious about it. Those anxious or sad emotions can get in the way of focusing in the current class. It can be distressing to have to wait until recess to talk to your friend to repair the relationship. It’s okay to have those distressed, anxious, sad emotions. It’s normal. It’s natural.

So, emotional control is not about not feeling emotions. It’s about recognizing that you have that emotion, but not letting it get in the way of you doing what you need to do. We do not want our emotions to control us.

Your child is feeling sad because their friend hurt their feelings. But he/she can’t always mend the relationship right away. He/she has to be able to get stuff done even though he/she is dealing with a lot of emotions. So how do he/she do that?

We need to calm down – but I would NEVER recommend saying that to anyone. Saying “Calm down” to someone invalidates their feelings, making them feel like you don’t understand, and so they get further enraged. So instead of saying, “Calm down”, we work on techniques for calming down, like meditation.

  • Practicing 10 minutes of meditation a day when we are already calm helps us to realize when we are getting agitated and need to meditate in other situations.
  • Finding an app like Calm or a CD or activity book for meditation like Sitting Still Like a Frog can help teach your child to notice when their emotions are overwhelming them and can give them strategies to calm themselves down.

Another technique you can teach your kid for calming down is to teach them how to realize when they are flipping their lid. Flipping your lid is one way experts use to describe what’s happening in your brain when your emotions take charge.

  • To describe flipping your lid goes like this…
  • Use your hand closed as a fist to represent your brain. Your palm is the “downstairs” brain – the emotional part of your brain. The downstairs emotional part of your brain quickly determines threats and reacts.
  • The upstairs part of your brain are your fingers covering that palm when your hand is in a fist. The upstairs part of your brain is the logical, problem solving part of your brain. So it works with the downstairs brain to figure out if there is really a threat and what to do about it.
  • When you are calm, your upstairs and downstairs brain are working together nicely to sort through your emotions and problem solve anything that pops up.
  • But when we get overwhelmed, we “flip our lid” – when that happens the fingers rise up and your upstairs brain is no longer connected to your downstairs brain. Your downstairs brain, your emotions, have taken control. And you can no longer think clearly and problem solve.

Then you teach them the trick to getting back to that brain that looks like a fist where the downstairs and upstairs are working well together – and the trick is to BREATHE.

  • Breathing out slowly cools off your downstairs brain and allows your upstairs brain to come back and work with your emotions. So each time you flip your lid, count how many breaths you need to take until your lid has come back down.

Exercise is also always a good option for getting your emotions back in check. There is something about using up all that anxious or angry energy that helps us to re-center ourselves.

Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg recommends that you “Blank it out” which means that you fill in the blank and write it out, dance it out, sing it out, draw it out, or whatever you want to blank it out.

Finally, to prepare for times when you know your emotions could get out of control, role play the scenario at home first.

  • Problem solve ahead of time so that when they get to the scary situation they are equipped with strategies to deal with their anxiety.

To summarize… to help your child develop emotional control:

1.     Meditate

2.     Teach your kids about flipping their lid

3.     Teach your kids the solution to flipping their lid: breathing

4.     Exercise

5.     Blank it out

6.     Role play

Resources:

Calm

Flipping Your Lid

Sitting Still Like a Frog

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Want to be the first to know when a new episode is released? Click here to subscribe to The Happy Student on iTunes!

Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!