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The "Homework" You Should Be Working on Over The Break

Kelly Bos

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THIS IS A BIGGER PREDICTOR OF SUCCESS IN LIFE THAN ACADEMIC OR SAT SCORES

We live in a busy society. I know I am not alone when I feel guilty for having down time. I think I should be doing something. This fear of sitting still can also be projected onto our kids, and not enough value is placed on having a true break. Homework over the break is used as a measure to ward off idle hands, brains, etc. However, hammering the books is the last thing my teacher friends suggest over the summer. They want the kids in their classes to enjoy and experience a break and the experts agree with so many cautions being written about the over-scheduled child.

Perhaps it is the type of work we are encouraging. If there is to be homework this summer, don't let it be times tables and memorization; try working on activities that increase your child'semotional intelligence; their ability to be aware, understand and control their emotions and understand and awareness of those of others. This is truly the people growing lessons but sadly declining skills. The skills of empathy, self-regulation, problem-solving strategies and impulse control are very important, in fact self-regulation alone is a bigger predictor of success in life than academic or SAT scores. In Dr. Michelle Borba's book, Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, she states that loneliness, stress, depression, anxiety, bullying, cheating and racism increases when empathy wanes. The good news is that all of these skills for life can be taught and incorporated into things you are already doing and easily practiced.

SIX EASY WAYS TO PRACTICE EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE:

1. Openly discuss that feelings have ranges.  As a school social worker, I have used this activity with students, but it is easy to use at home; simply ask your child to give different names for primary emotions. Angry could inspire words like mad, frustrated, irritated, furious, etc. Do the same for sad, happy, and scared. This helps kids evaluate the degree they were feeling that emotion and a greater vocabulary to discuss feelings.

2. Watch the movie Inside Out with your kids and discuss feelings, how we control them, and how emotions can be...

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