Please take a moment to be inspired! Click on the above link to watch a video at http://www.mindful.org
My family and I practice our EI skills regularly. This is something I encourage you to take time for. Please be sure to do a “self-check” before your try to teach it to your kids or the people in your life. Expecting your children to learn and use these skills only works if you “Lead By Example”. We are role models to everyone around us. Trying to improve and strengthen your emotional intelligence will help your children or the people you are closest to. The following is practical information to begin learning and strengthening your Emotional Intelligence.
“Emotional Intelligence is the set of abilities that helps us get along in life with other people in all kinds of situations.” ~Maurice H. Elias, Ph.D. Rutgers University
Emotional intelligence is a wide range of skills that children (and adults) can develop and improve. Developing and improving these skills are critical for emotional well-being and life success.
The following are social and emotional skills to focus on:
- happiness and optimism
- self-regard (self-compassion)
- emotional self-awareness
- social responsibility
- interpersonal relationship
- problem solving
- stress tolerance
- impulse control
- conflict resolution
Please note, happiness and optimism are at the top of this list. It is my opinion that they should be. If we focus on happiness and optimism we will be strengthening many of the other skills on this list. “My Happy” is full of ideas to strengthen your happiness and optimism. Many of my posts discuss self-awareness. We need to be aware of our thoughts and realize we can control them and choose to be positive. Using positive thinking can improve other skills. Take flexibility for instance. I realized that I have difficulty with this at times. In fact, I can really get annoyed when plans change at the last-minute. My initial reaction was to become upset and react negatively (grumpiness, I know, hard to believe..ha ha). After realizing I did this, I had more control over it. Now when something happens that forces me to be flexible (when I don’t want to) I still may initially react negatively, but I can usually catch myself and change my attitude. 🙂 My improvement happened as a result of practicing positive thinking which contributed to my being a more flexible thinker.
Learning and improving these skills is important for everyone. Not only does it improve your social and emotional well-being, it leads to a more successful life. This is a topic that I have wanted to share with others, especially caregivers because I know the value of these skills for children. Not only does it help children do well socially and emotionally, it increases learning potential.
As I continued my research in this area, I found CASEL. The Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning, based at the University of Illinois at Chicago, seeks to enhance children’s success in school and life by promoting evidence-based social, emotional, and academic learning as an essential part of education from preschool through high school. I am looking forward to someday having SEL in schools world-wide. Website: http://www.casel.org or check them out in my twitter feed!
Books to read:
more to come…..
Everywhere there are acts of kindness taking place. Our local channel for children has a kindest kid contest, teachers have kindness walls, counselors are telling of kindness as the key to successful relationships, I want to bring your attention to one of the most important ways to be kind that you might be missing.
I’m sure you are kind to your children or children you care for, I’m sure you are kind to your husband, wife, extended family, friends, colleagues, church groups, sales clerks, and I could go on. My question is, are you kind to yourself?
You are a very important person in your life, you are your first best friend, have you appreciated yourself lately? Are you chuckling to yourself right now reading this? I hope it is because you know I am right! It is called self-compassion. Be sure to take time to nurture yourself, create your happiness (of course, I had to say that), take a break, smell the roses, and appreciate yourself. We tend to be our own worse critics. We will judge ourselves where we wouldn’t judge or criticize another. This is a current area of research because so many of us have difficulty with this. However you treat and see yourself, others will too.
This is especially important if you do have children. Your children will learn about self-compassion by the example that you set. I discovered inspiring books for my children by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer which help them to understand self compassion, self-awareness and improve their self-confidence. Dr. Dyer wrote “Incredible You” and “Unstoppable Me”, among others. These, like many children’s books, are wonderful to read over and over throughout your children’s childhood. Because my children liked these books, I looked for another. I then found, “No Excuses!”
“No Excuses!” is a story of a young boy who loved sea turtles and dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. My oldest son and I refer to this book often as a reminder to stay focused on our goals. The first time I read this with my son, I learned a lesson myself!
Dr. Dyer writes this story to increase children’s understanding of what excuses are, where they come from and not to let excuses stand in the way of their dreams. I had never really thought about my own excuses in the way he described. At the end of this book I noticed that Dr. Dyer had written a more in-depth book for adults titled “EXCUSES BEGONE!” How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits. Got it, read it, and I would recommend it, if you find yourself holding back because of excuses. This was where I first realized how strong our mindsets are but, how possible it is to change them. When I asked my children to believe in themselves that they can do anything with effort, a good support team, and positive thinking….why was I not telling myself the same?
I hope YOU know that with effort, a good support team, and positive thinking you can do anything! Are you telling yourself the same? Remember to be kind to yourself and don’t let your excuses stand in the way of reaching your goals, big or small. 🙂
Let’s talk about karate. Why do you ask? If you haven’t been following along from the beginning you may still be wondering what “My Happy” is all about. I decided to write this blog about happiness and how to work on it daily because whatever brings you happiness should be practiced daily. Which will lead to a healthier, more mindful, and more enjoyable life, especially when things get tough!
I’m writing about what I have found to be helpful towards this goal for myself or my family. I want to share what has worked and maybe inspire others to try something positive. Karate has been that for my son. Karate welcomes all ages and abilities.
Exercise, building a village, and helping others, are all areas incorporated into karate. (Please see: Happiness Page) I would like to talk about Kenpo Karate (only because this is the one I am familiar with). There are other forms such as Taekwondo, but I’m not sure how similar they are. At the age of four, my son needed physical therapy. He had been falling and having trouble running. He also needed to have some occupational therapy as well. Those areas are an entire post in itself, but not today. His OT, Anna, a wonderful person, suggested we have our son take karate. She informed us it assists children with coordination, balance, focus and more. I knew my son’s preschool friend was taking karate. I asked his mom where he was taking it. I enrolled him and luckily he was in his friend’s class. Even still, my son would be timid at times and not want to go, or once we got there would not want to take class. I remember strongly feeling the importance of karate, although I had little knowledge of it. I would have him sit with me and watch his class. The teachers were always supportive and encouraged him to try “next time” which he did.
I’m writing about this as a very proud mother and a glad one. I am proud because even though my son struggled in the first few years, he got better and better with practice. Six years later he is about to earn his black belt! Karate gave him a second family, strength, courage, understanding, respect, friendship, flexibility, confidence, and so much more. First you need to be able to do the basics, like sit ups and push ups. Then you learn blocks, holds, forms, combinations and the creed. The creed tells of respect and peace over power.
When my son was about to earn his last brown belt, we had one of our proudest moments as he didn’t pass the test. As a karate student one needs to go through a few hours of testing to gain the next level belt. This particular test day, he didn’t pass. His teacher gave him his belt, but explained he would have to test again to have actually earned it. I was so grateful that he was able to still have the belt, but what surprised me was when my son chose to wear his old belt to his class that week. I asked him if he realized the kids in his class would know he didn’t pass his test, and he said he did. He explained he wanted to be honest and that he would only wear his new belt after he had past the next test. Which, of course, he did. I was also pleased with how the other karate students and teachers handled it as well when he chose to wear his lower level belt. They all supported my son and didn’t ask him any questions!
I have teared up watching other kids and adults achieve their black belts, not only do the students have to put in effort, they are asked for letters of recommendation, to acquire ten hours of community service, an essay on the requirements and responsibilities of a black belt, good grades and conduct at school, and to be able to run a nine minute mile. In these last few months I’ve come to realize what a terrific achievement this is for my young son. Karate has strengthened him not only physically, but socially and emotionally as well. All of the parents whose children participate in karate, whom I have spoken to, feel the same. I highly recommend karate for children, boys and girls and I also would like to encourage you, as well. I, myself, have it as a future goal. I think back to my younger years and wish someone had talked to me about it. I hope to interest any age (with your doctor’s okay, 🙂 ) to try a class or two and go from there. Again, I am very glad that we gave our son this gift. He is so young, about to earn his black belt and now has the confidence that with hard work, a support team, and perseverance he can accomplish ANYTHING!
Hello Readers, I was very proud of sharing the “Social Thinking” post, finally. It is one of the reasons I wanted to blog. I carefully write as I explain my opinions, because I truly want to reach out to any family who may benefit from the things I have. I learned however, I need to be more specific with my wording. What I found with all kinds of wonderful, unique children is that they will appreciate being treated with respect, kindness, honesty, and genuine care for their well-being. With that said, I thought “You Are a Social Detective” helped children to feel good about themselves and showed them that they have the tools to develop their social smarts. If I say something is good for all children (like the “You are a Social Detective” book) what I mean to say is, it’s something I found useful and you might want to give it a try with your child. Of course, it is possible that your child may not like it or find it useful.
As I continue learning in these areas and about blogging, I will surely grow and be able to “Live and Learn” and “Blog and Learn”. Does that make sense? I was fortunate, for many reasons, to be listening to a presentation the other day as a parent shared that her son did not like the language “expected and unexpected” in the works of Michelle Winner Garcia (complete coincidence ). I wanted to share this opinion on my blog because it would have been a welcomed comment on my blog post, “Social Thinking”.
I then realized it would be helpful to add this post. If you do try this book and your child does feel that way, it could be a good conversation starter. Also, some children, especially older children, may not like this kind of book if they feel it doesn’t address their needs. My experiences using this book have been with children 10 years old and younger. (I should have said this in the video or in the post.)
I also want to express that I know some children have more challenging needs for help with their “social smarts”. Thankfully, today there are many more resources for parents. Always share your concerns with your pediatrician. Usually they can advise you if your concerns about your child may need to be checked out by a specialist. They can also direct you to the specialist that is best suited for the concern. There are many doctors, therapists, social skills groups, early intervention programs, and more that are there to help you. If your child is of school age, you can also share your concerns with their teacher. I think when your child has difficulty with social and emotional issues, it may seem complicated to know who to turn to for help.
It is so important though, whether your child is having difficulties or not, to guide our children as much as we can to help them increase their social smarts, emotional intelligence and happiness! Thanks again for your patience as blogging is a new learning experience for me. I am trying to stay positive, helpful, honest, reach out to whomever my blog resonates with, show you things I found helpful as a teacher or parent, and learn from my readers. Thanks for reading!
Michelle Garcia Winner, MS, CCC-SLP is the founder of the concept of teaching “Social Thinking” to promote social skills and the author of several books related to the subject. She is also a national and international speaker on Social Thinking. Pamela Crooke, PhD, CCC-SLP is a faculty member of San Jose State University and is interested in treatment research related to children and adults with social cognitive challenges. Together they wrote the book I will present in the video below. I have used this book and felt that it would be helpful for all children, beginning at a young age. This is such a wonderful approach to teaching social skills because it is POSITIVE and empowering to all children. There are many books and materials regarding social thinking that I will also be sharing.
Happiness for our children includes feeling comfortable in the world around them. Discipline comes from the Latin word “disciplinare” which means to teach. As parents we are our children’s first teachers. It is important to teach social thinking beginning at a young age. There is no question that everyone can benefit from being taught social thinking! This is such a positive approach to addressing your own child’s behaviors, giving your child an understanding of how their behavior affects other people, or how other people’s behavior affects them. Also, it teaches that social smarts are just as important as academic smarts!
Hopefully, I have sparked your interest to watch the video as I explain “You are a Social Detective!” written by: Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke, Illustrated by: Kelly Knopp
Thank you for watching the video. I hope you see how useful this book can be with teaching children about social thinking. If used in the home, children will have a better understanding of social thinking as they begin school and for the years to come. This book and others like it should be read to the child repeatedly. This will increase their understanding and they will be able to use what they learn from it. This is not an answer to all social learning needs of our children, I think it is one step in the right direction. The website to view this book and learn more about Social Thinking is http://www.socialthinking.com
Thanks again for watching and have a happy day!