Creating Emotionally Intelligent Children Mentors Can Help!
to some of us this one little word can be very uncomfortable because, frankly, not everyone is open to sharing their feelings. Our emotions have power and are capable of enhancing or compromising so much. Our memory, learning, decision making, our judgment, the quality of our relationships, physical and mental health, can all be affected or influenced by our emotional state. Physically, our emotions cause a shift in our breathing and heart rate and can alter our facial expressions, body posture and behavior. Our emotions really matter!
At last month's Seedling Mentor Training, mentors were presented with research from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, along with the Center's innovative tools and strategies in identifying and regulating emotions. These tools, part of the RULER Approach, are being implemented into classrooms across the U.S. with the goal of creating a more effective and compassionate society.
The Yale Center defines Emotional Intelligence this way:
ecognizing emotions in one's self and others
nderstanding the causes and consequences of emotions
abeling emotions accurately
xpressing emotions appropriately
egulating emotions effectively
Watching a 17-minute video (a TEDTalk) to learn about the RULER approach is well worth the time. Follow this link to watch Marc Brackett, Yale Center Director, discuss Emotional Intelligence on TEDxGoldenGateED.
A wonderful way for mentors to help mentees identify and regulate their emotions is introducing them to The Mood Meter. This colorful graph lists feeling words that one can choose that best identifies his/her emotion on a scale from pleasant to unpleasant, as well as rating energy level from low to high.
To learn about Mood Meter activities -
Thinking Differently About the Holidays
The signals are beginning: changes in the weather, holiday commercials on tv, and our own thoughts and wishes for our family holiday traditions. As Seedling mentors, we remain sensitive to the fact that in some households these holidays are not celebrated due to religious practice, financial distress, or family strife. The safest and most effective open-ended questions on the topic are, "What do you think you'll do during the break from school?" or "What are you looking forward to during the break from school?" Your mentee's choice to share about holiday traditions or memories (happy or sad) can be a springboard for rich conversation. As always, we let the mentee take the lead.
But what about gifts, or our worries about our mentees' dire economic circumstances? See these links for thoughts and guidelines: