Many of us are in the midst of one of the most challenging seasons we’ve ever experienced. Parents with young children – I feel for you. This COVID-19-induced quarantine is probably placing additional stress on your already hectic life and perhaps causing confusion, fear, and anxiety in your little ones. That being the case, I’d like to encourage you to take advantage of this unique time at home to help your young children develop a critical life tool – emotional intelligence (EQ).
Here are three EQ games you can play with your little ones from just about anywhere (including your living room!):
#1: Pick a Topic – Non-Judgmental Listening
“Pick a Topic” will work best with children who are verbal, around the age of 5 or above. The goal of this game is to teach children how to communicate about a subject while withholding judgment of the other person.
For example, you may want to choose “pizza.” Now, instruct your child to say something about pizza – for example, “I like pizza because it’s cheesy.” You’ll respond with “I don’t like pizza because it’s too hot.” Going back and forth, you’ll simply state your likes and dislikes about pizza. The only rule? You’re not allowed to comment on what the other person said. In other words, no judgment!
#2: Draw Your Feelings – Acknowledgment of Emotions
“Draw Your Feelings” helps teach littles ones emotional intelligence by learning to acknowledge and process their feelings through a fun storytelling and drawing exercise. As long as your child knows how to draw a sad face or a happy face, they can play this game!
Hand your child a drawing tablet or paper and crayon, and then pull out a favorite storybook. Now, as you read the story to your child, pause at key moments and ask your child to “draw” how they feel. Is it a happy moment? Then draw a big smiley face! Or maybe it’s a scary moment. Ask your child to draw a face that expresses feeling afraid.
#3: Silent Charades – Mindful Movement
This last game teaches your little one how to gain greater body awareness by attempting to imitate objects or animals they know from nature. Name an object or animal (such as a tree or butterfly), and ask your little one to close their eyes for a moment, be totally still, and imagine they are a tree or butterfly. When you say GO!, they can begin movement.
These simple activities are springboards you can use for your own creative games. I’d love to hear from you about ideas you come up with during this unique season. Comment below to share!