With so much in the media about emotional intelligence, as parents we can be left wondering whether we have done enough to develop our own children’s emotional intelligence.
At Be in Touch, we like Daniel Siegel’s simple description of emotional intelligence: the ability to recognise and communicate your emotional state and choose to do something about how you feel.
With the increasing use of screens, it is important that we help our children understand how their screen time is impacting how they feel. We need to encourage them to look for practical ways to change how they feel – like playing outside, talking to friends or completing a task which is due, instead of simply turning on one of their devices and being distracted by how they feel when entertained by it.
The negative impact of screen overuse is marked not only by the underdevelopment of our children’s brains, the reduced focal ability in their eyes, poor posture and reduced sleeping hours – but also by the missed opportunity costs.
This opportunity cost is the walk outside in nature, conversation with friends, negotiation with parents or play with siblings that does not happen because turning on an entertaining screen is so much easier.
When we help our children identify how they feel before and after they use their screens for entertainment, we help them realise their patterns of behaviour in dealing with uncomfortable emotional states.
In a perfect world, our children would only use screens when they are feeling calm and have completed all the tasks required of them. We get that this is not always possible, and understand that life is what happens while we are making other plans.
As Daniel Siegel says, “name it to tame it”. When our children can accurately identify their emotional state, the intensity of that state is also reduced.
Click HERE to access our Screentime Mood Measure board, which will help to develop your child’s emotional intelligence and ensure they are using their entertainment time with screens more consciously.