In 1995, psychologist Daniel Goleman stunned parents. He told them their children’s success in work and in life depended more on their Emotional Intelligence (EI) than their Cognitive IQ.
A major part of EI is communications know-how. The immediate challenge for your children is this: Their reliance on digital devices can limit their ability to listen, have a face-to-face conversation, and read non-verbal cues. Here are three tips how you can help them bridge that gap.
Know You Are Setting the Example. From the time we exit the womb, we learn how to navigate the world by imitation. That means that your children are internalizing how to interact by observing you. Therefore, no matter what you might be feeling at the time or how tired you are, the burden is on you to set the example. That’s the model they will follow in formal situations, ranging from school to applying for their first job.
Make Listening Fun. Part of the epidemic of short attention spans is the lost art of listening. Many parents complain children are too consumed in their little worlds to even hear, “It’s dinner time” or “The school bus is here.” One way to break through this compulsion is to make listening a game. Material for this ranges from commercial films to simply overhearing conversations. Have contests about identifying the messaging, who’s getting it and who’s missing it. Your children can post on social networks or blogs their ah-ha moments. They can also publish an e-book. Explain how this could lead to fame.
Unleash the Dramatic. It’s by acting out all the wrong facial gestures and body language that your children will get down cold what not to do. Organize neighborhood mini theatrical productions featuring these lessons. Post the photos and videos on social networks. Who knows, maybe a talent scout will spot your children’s talent.
In the process of passing on superior communications skills to children, you are bound to raise the bar for your own. Do not be surprised if good things start happening. Those could be a promotion in work or being elected to head a parents’ organization.
Jane Genova (http://janegenova.com)