The development of social and emotional intelligence in ourselves and our kids is so important. We wanted to share with you an activity that could be done at home to help you build these skills in your children (and own self). This activity is designed to help us work with our kids on developing intuition, active (deep) listening skills, empathy and compassion. Honing these abilities will allow our kids to connect and understand the social situations around them and interact with their peers more effectively. Research shows that kids with high social and emotional intelligence have greater “success” and “happiness” in life.
(1) Take out a magazine or go on the Internet and find a few pictures of people. The picture could have one person or multiple people interacting. Cut out the picture or print out the image.
(2) Design a time when it works for you and your child to spend a few minutes talking about the pictures. Make sure that the time works for both you and them. Chose a comfortable location.
(3) Take out the pictures and tell your child that you wanted to discuss the pictures and talk about emotions and feelings.
(4) Look at the picture with your child. Have the child examine the faces, expressions and body language exhibited in the pictures. You can try out some of the sample questions or come up with your own.
Feel free to change the questions to make them appropriate for your child. Try to keep the questions open ended to promote creative and imaginative thinking. Yes / No / Why questions can have a tendency to shut down creative thinking.
- What’s going on in the picture?
- What are they doing?
- What is the story that goes along with this picture?
- Can you tell me a story that goes with this picture?
- How do you think she / he feels? What in the pictures tells you that?
- How would you feel if you were in this picture? What emotions would you feel? (spend time discussing and defining these emotions).
- What is a situation from your life that reminds you of this picture? What is the connection?
- Share your feelings about the picture as well.
(5) Extensions. Use a favorite toy, doll, stuff animal and act out the scenario from the picture. Alternatively you can create a skit or play to act out the scene from the picture. Have the child modify the scenario to express different emotions – scary, happy, joy, sad, exciting, etc.
(artwork available under CC License from commons.wikimedia.org)
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