Top Ten Ways To Raise Emotionally Intelligent Kids

September 30, 2008

By Mark Brandenburg

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Having a high level of emotional intelligence in your children is the best way to ensure that they live a happy, successful, and responsible life as an adult. Here are ten ways to help your kids attain a high degree of emotional intelligence:

1. Model emotional intelligence yourself

Yes, your kids are watching very closely. They see how you respond to frustration, they see how resilient you are, and they see whether you’re aware of your own feelings and the feelings of others.

2. Be willing to say “no” to your kids

There’s a lot of stuff out there for kids. And your kids will ask for a lot of it. Saying no will give your kids an opportunity to deal with disappointment and to learn impulse control. To a certain degree, your job as a parent is to allow your kids to be frustrated and to work through it. Kids who always get what they want typically aren’t very happy.

3. Be aware of your parental “hotspots”

Know what your issues are-what makes you come unglued and what’s this really about? Is it not being in control? Not being respected? Underneath these issues lies a fear about something. Get to know what your fear is so you’re less likely to come unglued when you’re with your kids. Knowing your issues doesn’t make them go away, it just makes it easier to plan for and to deal with.

4. Practice and hone your skills at being non-judgmental

Start labeling feelings and avoid name-calling. Say, “he seems angry,” rather than, “what a jerk.” When your kids are whiny or crying, saying things like, “you seem sad,” will always be better than just asking them to stop. Depriving kids of the feelings they’re experiencing will only drive them underground and make them stronger.

5. Start coaching your kids

When kids are beyond the toddler years, you can start coaching them to help them to be more responsible. Instead of “get your hat and gloves,” you can ask, “what do you need to be ready for school?” Constantly telling your kids what to do does not help them to develop confidence and responsibility.

6. Always be willing to be part of the problem

See yourself as having something to do with every problem that comes along. Most problems in families get bigger when parents respond to them in a way that exacerbates the problem. If your child makes a mistake, remember how crucial it is for you to have a calm, reasoned response.

7. Get your kids involved in household duties at an early age

Research suggests that kids who are involved in household chores from an early age tend to be happier and more successful. Why? From an early age, they’re made to feel they are an important part of the family. Kids want to belong and to feel like they’re valuable.

8. Limit your kids access to mass media mania

Young kids need to play, not spend time in front of a screen. To develop creativity and problem-solving skills, allow your kids time to use free play. Much of the mass media market can teach your kids about consumerism, sarcasm, and violence. What your kids learn from you and from free play with others will provide the seeds for future emotional intelligence.

9. Talk about feelings as a family

State your emotional goals as a family. These might be no yelling, no name-calling, be respectful at all times, etc. Families that talk about their goals are more likely to be aware of them and to achieve them. As the parent, you then have to “walk the talk.”

10. See your kids as wonderful

There is no greater way to create emotional intelligence in your child than to see them as wonderful and capable. One law of the universe is, “what you think about expands.” If you see your child and think about them as wonderful, you’ll get a lot of “wonderful.” If you think about your child as a problem, you’ll get a lot of problems.

Having a high IQ is nice, but having a high “EQ” is even better. Make these ten ideas daily habits and you’ll give your kids the best chance possible to be happy, productive, and responsible adults.

Additional Resources:

Potty Training Tips
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Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches busy parents by phone to balance their life and improve their family relationships. For a FREE twenty minute sample session by phone; ebooks, courses, articles, and a FREE newsletter, go to http://www.markbrandenburg.com. or email him at mark@markbrandenburg.com.

Quick Healthy Easy Breakfast

September 30, 2008

You know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Start the day right for the entire family with some quick, healthy
and easy breakfast.

Most of us have heard the saying “Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day” and it’s certainly true especially when it comes to children. Studies have shown that children who eat a balanced breakfast are more alert in school, perform better and in many cases are less prone to bad behavior than children who skip breakfast.

Here are some quick and easy breakfast ideas for kids:

Give them Eggs – Eggs are versatile and nutritious, plus most kids like them. Start their day with simple scrambled eggs, you can add a little chopped ham, cheese, chopped tomatoes or mushrooms. Boiled eggs with slices of toast will down well too.

Bake Ahead Muffins – Muffins aren’t always the most nutritious meal, but if you bake your own muffins you can use mashed banana and a little honey for a naturally sweet breakfast muffin. You can also replace half of the amount of white flour for healthier whole wheat flour. And don’t just stick to sweet muffins, try a savory bacon and chive muffin or cheese and ham. Bake them the night before for a quick and healthy breakfast.

Don’t forget the Fruit – Try a fresh fruit salad with a yogurt and cheerio dip. Using a rolling pin mash a handful of two of whole grain Cheerios in a plastic bag and transfer to a bowl. Fill another bowl with yogurt and let your kids dip the fruit pieces in yogurt then in the cheerio mixture. Whole grain Cheerios have a lower sugar content then many of the cereals on the supermarket shelves.

Pancakes in a flash – Prepare a basic pancake batter the night before, cover and refrigerate in the morning. In the morning all you need to do is heat the grill and your whole family can enjoy delicious homemade pancakes. Serve with a little maple syrup or jam and some fresh fruit on the side.

Try Pizza for Breakfast – Split a couple of bagels in half, top with a little pizza sauce, grated cheese and some chopped ham. Place under the grill for a few minutes and you have a nutritious breakfast pizza. You can also use English muffins or pita bread.

Breakfast Burrito – Wraps are a great alternative to toast and cereal. You can make a scrambled egg breakfast wrap with a little bit of ham or cheese added to it or you can add a little cream cheese and turkey or even make a breakfast pizza burrito.

Remember breakfast doesn’t have to always consist of the traditional toast, cereal and eggs you can experiment a little to keep things interesting. And don’t put too much pressure on yourself to always make the perfect family breakfast. If your kids really aren’t hungry at breakfast time a simple banana and a glass of orange juice will give them an instant boost.

The most important thing is that your child starts the day with one or two nutritious foods.

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Preparing For Back To School

September 30, 2008


Back to School Preparation for All Ages

If you have children, late July, August and early September represents more than summer ending, cooler weather and fall foliage. School begins once again for millions of kids across the country. Getting your child prepared, regardless of whether they are in Kindergarten or a senior in high school, is a must. Here are some tips to make the transition from several weeks of summer fun to school days and homework easier.

Children in Kindergarten – 5th grade

1. About a week before school starts, have your children go to bed at the time they will when school begins. Set their alarm or wake them up early. It’s difficult for some kids to adjust to going to bed and getting up earlier after having an entire summer of sleeping in or staying up late. Many young children need to be on a schedule and preparing a week or so earlier will pay off, especially if you have a night owl or late sleeper.

2. If you have a school supply list (many school districts post them on their website or hand them out the last day of school), buy the supplies early. For the child who is not organized, this is a good way to begin the school year off on the right foot. Label everything and get the backpacks ready the night before school starts. Buy some extra supplies to keep at home if your child is one to lose or forget their pencils or markers at school. They will probably need some basic supplies for homework time. Nothing is more frustrating than sitting down to do homework and discovering the basics are missing.

3. If you have a Kindergartener, walk to school two or three days before school begins (or drive if they take a bus or you will be driving them). This helps acquaint them with what they will actually be doing that first day and can work wonders for alleviating the first-day jitters. If your child is especially anxious, ask if you can let them visit their new classroom for five or ten minutes the day before school starts. Many principals will let the Kindergarteners come to the campus prior to school starting.

Middle School

1. Many sixth graders will be attending a new school for their middle school years. Oftentimes, the campus is much bigger and can be intimidating. Of course pre-teens may not admit they are nervous, but most parents are. Suggest a bike ride over to the school sometime during August just to look around. Many middle schools conduct orientation anyway a couple of days before school actually begins, but an extra trip without all of their peers might be worthwhile.

2. Just as in elementary school, it is important, if not more so in middle school, to have all the school supplies ready, especially an organizer. Some schools make it mandatory for the students to purchase an organizer directly from the school. Get in the habit from day one of checking it and being sure homework assignments are recorded. Visit the school website and see if homework and grades will be posted on the site. This is an excellent way to stay involved with your child’s progress throughout the year.

3. If your student struggles with the basics; math or language arts, consider hiring a tutor for some review sessions before and during the first semester. Also, it is quite common in middle school for students who are excelling to be moved to Honors classes sometime during the year. Being in an accelerated class is a good way to prepare a student for Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school, which count as college credit.

HIGH SCHOOL

1. Find out when the PSAT and SAT exams will take place. If your student is not a good test taker, consider enrolling them in a test prep class. As colleges become more and more competitive, test scores make a difference. One can take the exam more than once if they are not happy with the score, so plan ahead and register early.

2. Stay tuned in to your student’s school and social schedule. There is a tremendous amount of freedom in high school and even the most academically gifted students can be distracted by all of the things that are associated with the teenage years. Establish a curfew for school nights and limit the amount of time that is spent at a part-time job or involved in sports, especially if time management and study skills are not your child’s forte.

3. If your son or daughter is college-bound, start doing your research and be sure to attend the college nights that many high schools sponsor. Know what is expected on college applications. It is no longer a simple process like it was for the baby boomer generation. Test scores, a formal essay, volunteer hours, and class selection in high school are all important factors in getting into college. Take advantage of the many companies that exist today solely for the purpose of assisting you and your student select the right college for them.

Regardless of the age and grade of your children, stay involved. Volunteering on any level, whether it be reading stories to your elementary aged child’s second grade class, helping in the computer lab in middle school, or being on a committee for peer counseling in high school, it is important to know what is happening at the place your children spend a large part of their week. With so many parents working, many Parent Teacher Associations have their meetings in the evening, so more parents can attend. There are activities that need volunteers that do not involve daytime hours such as calling parents in the evening for a fundraiser or helping with a weekend car wash at high school.

These tips can help your children get back to school the right way and prepare them for a year of learning and fun. For additional articles on raising kids, starting a business, or educational issues go to http://www.hometutoringbusiness.com.

Laurie Hurley is an educational consultant and mentor to small business owners. Hurley was recently featured in Woman’s World and Entrepreneur Magazine as well as Family Circle and others. She can be reached at http://www.hometutoringbusiness.com or 1.888.847.0033. Article is free to be reprinted as long as author’s bio remains intact.

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