Which will make you happier and more successful: a high IQ score (Intelligence Quotient, a measure of intellect) or a high EQ score (Emotional Quotient, a measure of emotional intelligence)? Some psychologists believe that the ability to understand, express, and respect emotions (EQ) can play a more significant role in a person’s life than how “smart” a person is. In fact, according to a study on EQ, psychologists found, “IQ alone is not enough; EQ also matters. In fact, psychologists generally agree that among the ingredients for success, IQ counts for roughly 10% (at best 25%); the rest depends on everything else – including EQ.”
Assuming that learning a foreign language and memorizing multiplication tables can (possibly) boost your child’s IQ, just how can you build her EQ? Introducing mindfulness practices is an easy way to teach and model empathy, cooperation, and interpersonal skills in very light-hearted, playful ways.
Undercover Friend: This activity gives your child the opportunity to build connections with other people. When we recognize our similarities, we are able to empathize and support fellow humans, regardless of age, background, or situation.
Ask your child to choose a person they see regularly but don’t really know. It could be a classmate, a bus driver, or a neighbor. Everyday, they will complete a simple task designed to get to know their undercover friend. They should keep a notebook handy to record clues about their friend.
Day 1: Notice at least one thing you have in common with your friend.
Day 2: Notice something that’s different about you and your friend. Not bad, just different.
Day 3: Notice at least one quality you admire in your friend.
Day 4: Secretly send positive thoughts and kind wishes to your undercover friend.
Day 5: Pay your friend a genuine compliment, one that really comes from your heart and is specific to something you’ve learned about him/her.
Day 6: Think about how you feel about your undercover friend now that you have gotten to know him/her better. Are you more comfortable around him/her? What do you think your friend would notice about you?
Day 7: Start again with a new undercover friend.
Mystery Stick Art: In this game, there are not teams, no leader, no goal, no winner or losers. And that’s the challenge – letting go of your personal expectations and desires to allow a group idea to unfold through everyone’s cooperative energy. This builds present moment awareness, patience, and interdependence.
Have kids sit in a circle. Pass out pipe-cleaners, sticks, Bendaroos, pebbles, pompoms, or other small craft materials. Each person, one at a time, silently takes their stick and places it on the floor in the middle of the circle however they’d like. The next person does the same, looking at the shape of the sticks and pebbles already placed, adding their vision to the shape. Eventually a particular form will take shape. No one directs the placement, but it somehow magically turns into a pattern or picture. For one example, watch this video using Bendaroos.