In this episode of Village Chatter, I got to answer different questions you sent me all about raising emotionally intelligent tiny humans. If you want to be part of our Village Chatter and contribute and share different questions you have, it is so easy! All you have to do is join the Facebook page at Seed and Sew: Voices of your Village.
The first question that I answered was at what age should you, as a caregiver, start having conversations with your kiddos about messing up like yelling or losing your cool, in front of your kiddo. The good news is, that in order to see lasting effects with emotional intelligence you only need to get it right 20% of the time and it is never too late or never too early to start. As soon as you start to feel yourself getting mad or starting to lose your cool, it is important to tell them that you are going to take some space and walk away. When you later revisit the instance that occurred, you can acknowledge your emotions letting them know how you were feeling and what you did to make your body feel calm again. Modeling your feelings and how you respond to your feelings is so important for your kiddo to see. It’s always an option to come back and chat about it. If you yelled at them, snapped, scared them in any manner, you can also create a safe space for them to talk about how they feel/felt.
In the second question, the parent asked about how to come back from the response, “You made me mad…” or “I am sad because you…” First and foremost, cheers to this parent for knowing that we want to create a space where children do not feel responsible for our feelings. Of course, ideally, we want to avoid sentences like “I feel sad when you…” but none of us are perfect, so here’s how we respond after the fact. When this happens and you realize that it is not the response you wanted to give, it is important to revisit that situation again when you are in a calm space and talk about it with your kiddo. It is ok to validate to them that you made a mistake and let them know how you plan to do it differently if it happens next time. It’s okay to make mistakes, folks, it’s how we respond after that matters most.
The third question was about how to prepare siblings who are moving from their own rooms to sharing one room together. From an emotional development standpoint, it is important that you prepare the two of them and let them know what this change is going to look like and what the expectations will be. As this transition is taking place, it is important to consider whether their bedtime routines will be the same or will each kiddo have their own routine. There is no one size fits all here, but have a plan upfront, be ready to stick with it, and drive those expectations home. While establishing these new routines, it is important to set and hold boundaries from the start. I like to turn to the older sibling as the guiding light; give them the opportunity to be a leader here.
In the fourth question, the parents expressed how they found out their daughter was waitlisted from a Head Start school and will not be in a public pre-k until she is four years old. They wanted to know if it was a concern that she would not be in a school setting until a little later than they had planned. Long story short, the answer is no! But if you are worried about the social interaction piece it would be a good idea to have her play with other children whether it means setting up playdates or going to your local playground. It is important that kiddos get independent time away from their caregivers because it encourages them to build their collaborative play skills with other children. Then later on in the day, you and your kiddo can digress and talk about any instances that may have come up during their playtime together. When she goes to school, she will be better able to take in the content that she is learning if her emotional intelligence is high. So at this age, helping her build her emotional intelligence is key! We do a lot of this emotion coaching through conflicts and feelings that can arise in play.
The final question came from a pregnant mom who was wondering what she can do to build emotional intelligence while her baby is still in the womb. With emotional development starting from the beginning, it is important that you are practicing mindfulness, limiting your stress levels, saying “no” to things, and taking pauses as you are growing your tiny human. It can be so beneficial to recognize when stressors or anxiety are happening and be mindful of those feelings and be able to build coping strategies that help you come back to a calm place. The more you work on your coping strategies the easier it will be to use them when your tiny human is here! There is a wonderful app, called Expectful, which provides guided meditation for both pregnant and postpartum women. The goal of the app is to help reduce postpartum anxiety and depression.
If you wish to share more of your questions, thoughts, or concerns about what it takes to raise emotionally intelligent tiny humans, go sign up for our Tiny Humans, Big Emotions group right now! They only launch a few times a year and these will be the last groups for 2018! During these groups, we talk about emotional development, understanding how we process emotions and tips and tricks that you can take away and try with your kiddos.
For the first time ever, we are also launching Tiny Humans, Big Emotions Series. These series consist of small groups of parents who meet once a month over the course of a few months. During our time together, I provide you with support and guidance as you get to dive into what this looks like day-to-day with your tiny human.
If you are ready to sign up you can go to tinyhumansbigemotions.com