Five Ways for Parents to Advance EQ
We believe that every parent has an absolute responsibility to honor your desire for the best for your child by learning about emotional intelligence skills and advocating for them at your children’s schools – and learning to practice EQ at home. There are tremendous benefits for doing so.
Here are some tools and resources.
See our Toolkit for introducing EQ skills into your child’s school.
Few parents even know if their children’s school is offering EQ learning or social-emotional learning (in a few regions called “character development”) to students even though it may be the most important skill set they will learn in their lifetime.
The odds are you are among the 90% of parents who don’t know.
We believe that every parent has a responsibility to inquire at the school and, if you get a no, then advocate for this learning if you want your child to become optimally responsive and resilient to their life experiences, more self-aware, better able to meet life’s challenges, make better choices for their lives, manage their feelings, communicate and relate superbly, and handle stress in positive ways, among many other benefits.
By insisting on and helping making EQ happen for all children at your child’s school, you also create a culture of kids you’d want your own child to experience vs. a school rattled by poor learning and behavioral challenges that might include violence and drug usage. Research also shows that when students are more in touch with their feelings and needs and learn how to communicate these needs in a positive way, they actually perform better on tests and go on to live more fulfilling and successful lives.
Click here for our Toolkit of core steps for you in dealing with school teachers and administrators and other parents. The time you spend digesting this and acting on it will be well-rewarded in preparing your child for 21st Century realities, which are not the ones you grew up with.
Contact your state legislators and insist on funding for universal EQ curriculum and teacher development in it.
Your calls, emails or visits to legislators WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE and are crucial because few legislators ever hear from individual constituents about specifically advancing social-emotional learning.
- The best way to get the name and contact info for your representatives in your state legislature is via https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator
NOTE that any given legislator may be clueless about social-emotional learning as a term. So best also to make a reference to “school climate” and safety issues and “whole child development” along with mentioning social-emotional learning as THE key component of these matters. Be sure to refer legislators and their staff to this website.
CLICK Here for more information about how to deal with legislators.
Get the parents of all your children’s friends together and talk about emotional intelligence.
Set up a video-watching evening (see many videos on our site and on Edutopia.org and CASEL.org and YouTube). Also provide some reading material either from this site or the tons of it online if you search “social-emotional learning.”. Once you have a study group going, it will be far easier to segue it into an advocacy force at local schools.
Also, many geographic areas have at least one school that already provides such skills learning. Research local schools and arrange for visits and/or for experienced teachers and administrators who might come speak to your group. One relatively prolific program – and it is relative – is Second Step. You can check with their home office whether they are present in a local school. Schools that identify themselves as part of the Character Development system are also helpful. Check their website for a local model.
You can also search for “social-emotional consultants” in your area.
Share and talk up EQ with everyone you know in order to create other allies and spread the word.
The public is woefully ignorant about emotional intelligence and the fact that social-emotional learning exists and is a major game-changer for children and schools. The interest in school violence after the series of school massacres makes it easier to introduce the concept of teaching young people to manager their anger and emotions even while gaining many other benefits.
Tell everyone you know, refer them to this website, share materials on social media, call and write your local newspaper and other media and urge coverage of the subject in any way you can conceive of. Get the grandparents to do the same.
The more you help create awareness, the sooner your school might implement the necessary learning.
Model social-emotional skills for your child.
Here are recommendations from the National Staff Development Council.
- Focus on your child’s strengths first before being constructively critical.
- Follow up with consequences for misbehavior.
- Ask children how they feel and be understanding of those feelings first before making suggestions.
- Practice ways to stay calm when angry (like counting to ten, thinking of other things, finding the positive when it seems none exists).
- Avoid shaming your child.
- Be willing to apologize.
- Give children choices where appropriate and respect their wishes if it really doesn’t matter (gain authority by being firm on important matters).
- Ask questions that help children solve problems on their own.
- Read books and stories together.
- Encourage sharing and helping.
These are not just words. They are action steps to improve your child’s life, as well as your own, based on scientifically-proven studies. If you consciously do these things, they will help your children cope more easily, become more resilient, be happier and do better in school and life.
Also search internet games, books, videos and other resources for learning, teaching and modeling EQ-advancing behaviors at home.