Literacy means more than reading and writing. One of the most important literacies for our children is emotional literacy. Being able to name, understand, express and regulate emotions is increasingly tied to greater resilience in children and later success as adults.
In a previous post (Foundations to Fly) I talked about a program that teaches parents and schools about the importance of emotional literacy. Emotional literacy (also referred to as emotional competence or emotional intelligence) involves three main pieces: emotional expression, emotional knowledge, and emotional regulation.
In order to express and regulate emotions in a way that puts us and our children in the best position for success, we need to first be able to recognize them and accurately name them. In order to express emotions, our kids must first be able to separate feelings from thoughts. When something happens, we almost simultaneously have a thought about that event and then in a split second, we feel something about that event. Children have great difficulty separating the thought from the feeling…in fact, many adults struggle with this as well!! Helping our kids separate thoughts from feelings gives them the opportunity to understand that while feelings can seem out of their control, we CAN help them learn how to control their thinking process.
We all have triggers. Once we recognize what they are, we are more aware of them and can manage our reactions to them with less difficulty. As we teach our kids and practice (and practice and practice and practice) with them, they not only improve their ability to recognize feelings and the thoughts that might be causing them, they also learn to mange those thought to help manage their emotions.
For an “easy as PIE” approach to helping kids handle their emotions, click here.
Moving is stressful and causes more emotions than we can often handle. No parent should move without a written game plan to help your children deal with the difficulties they face when moving.
For more information about the Moving Families Initative, please visit www.movingfamiliesinitiative.com.