By Nikki Smith
As the school year begins and our two eldest daughters walk into the school yard holding their little sister’s hand, I wonder how our third daughter will handle school. Will she want me to stay? Will she be OK with saying goodbye? Will there be tears and apprehension? Will she remember what she did all day and be able to put it all into words? Will she find her big sisters in the playground, and will they play together?
My heart swells with pride, pride in the fact that we have gotten our children to this point in their little lives, pride in us as a couple for reaching this huge milestone as parents, but I also feel a depth of unexplainable sadness. Sadness that the years have gone by so quickly.
As toddlers and throughout those intense years, I really thought it would never end. It was exhausting, relentless, ever changing and dare I say, hard!!
Now though, I do feel a great loss for those years gone by. Their daily company, conversations, and the noise!
As I sit here two weeks into the school year, I do worry a little about whether she is ‘school ready’. She can only just write her name. What I do not worry about though, is her emotional intelligence. I personally feel that this is key to starting school, because she needs to be able regulate her emotions, especially hitting exhaustion, and she also needs to express them.
Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of and be able to express your emotions; it also allows you to better handle relationships with empathy.
As parents do, we speak to our children about their feelings enough.
Daniel J Siegel, author of ‘The Whole Brain Child,’ says that if parents speak with their children about their feelings, they will have children who develop emotional intelligence. Their children can understand their own feelings as well as other people’s.
Everything that happens to us affects the way that our emotions will develop.