You teach kids to pause
“Kids are impulsive by nature and when unchecked, they can become impulsive adults,” shares Aleasa Word, certified emotional intelligence coach. “Impulsivity undermines emotional intelligence, so teach children to stop and think about how they feel before they act.” She suggests using visual cues, like a special bracelet or trigger words to help kids learn how to pause. Explain to kids the importance of taking five seconds to respond to anything, unless it’s an emergency. “My own kids have a look up, look down, look left, and look right routine before responding, which forces them to pause,” she shares.
You encourage conversation
“Have mandatory family-talk time,” advises Tom Kersting, licensed psychotherapist and author of Disconnected: How To Reconnect Our Digitally Distracted Kids. “The average parent spends three and a half minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children. Make it a rule for the whole family to sit together for at least 15 minutes per night and, well, talk.”
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You accept and encourage your child’s emotions
“Feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are, and everyone is entitled to their feelings, including your child,” says Harvey Deutschendorf, author of The Other Kind of Smart: Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success. “Always encourage them to express their feelings through questioning. For example, if they look sad or upset and aren’t speaking, you could ask, ‘You look down today; did something happen?’ Never pass judgment or doubt their feelings. For them, their feelings are real and authentic.”