Discover How to Make Your Own Hair Detangling Spray

If you suffer from hair brushing battles like we do, you’ll want a great detangling spray available. Making it yourself is more cost effective and more natural than the store bought versions. I can’t wait to share this DIY hair detangling spray recipe with you. It’s made with essential oils and smells wonderful! You’ll also want to check out my favorite detangling brushes!

Make Your Own Hair Detangling Spray

Hair Detangling Spray Supplies:

Hair Detangling Spray Supplies

1/8 cup distilled water
1 teaspoon glycerin
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon aloe vera gel
3-4 drops argan oil
10-15 drops lemon essential oil
10-15 drops lime essential oil
10-15 drops orange essential oil
Spray bottle

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Hair Detangling Spray Instructions:

Step 1: In a small mixing bowl, add distilled water and glycerin. Glycerin helps condition and soften your hair. It also lubricates the hair to make brushing easier.

Step 2: Add apple cider vinegar, which helps remove reside build up and makes hair shiny.

Step 3: Add aloe, which also conditions and softens hair. It also can promote hair growth and relieve itching.

Step 4: Add argan oil, which moisturizes and nourishes hair. It helps repair hair that is dry, damaged or frizzy. IT also makes hair shiny and can help comb or brush through the hair easier.

Step 5: Add essential oils. Feel free to mix it up with your own blend. I suggest lemon, lime and orange. Lemon oil helps keep hair clean and soft. It’s great if you have hair that tends to be oily. Lime essential oil helps reduce dandruff and helps alleviate dry scalp. It also reduces frizz and helps make dull hair look shiny and vibrant. Orange essential oil moisturizes your hair and leaves it smelling fresh and clean!

Step 6: Whisk everything together

Step 7: Using a funnel, add mixture to spray bottle. Top with ball and lid.

Spray on wet or dry hair to help calm tangles and make brushing easier.

Make Your Own Hair Detangling Spray

DIY Hair Detangling Spray

The post Discover How to Make Your Own Hair Detangling Spray appeared first on Healthy Happy Thrifty Family.

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Ask Dr Justin: What is the Best Way to Say ‘No!’ To Your Kids 

Hi Dr Justin

I hate saying no to my kids. I keep softening up, getting talked around, giving in. I’m getting walked all over. How do I set limits and still feel like I’m being a good mum?

This is important so I’m saying it clearly at the start:

You can’t be a good mum if you don’t set limits!

But as you’ve realised, one of the most difficult parts of parenting is saying no. Unfortunately sometimes we have to. Sometimes plans change, or something might not be safe. At times someone else’s needs may matter more, or what our child wants they can’t have.

And while they might not thank you for it, setting limits is one of the best things you can do for your child. Saying ‘no’ teaches our kids important lessons about life, independence, empathy and getting along.

Research shows that the best parenting style is one that combines setting limits with warmth. These parents are nurturing and responsive, but set firm limits for their children. They listen to their child’s point of view, but they don’t always accept it. And it works! Their children tend to be friendly, self-reliant, cooperative, curious and goal-oriented.

So how can we say no, but still let our kids know that we empathise with them? How can we be firm and warm?

Give them their wish in fantasy

It’s important to remember that our kids have big feelings… and that’s ok! We might need to limit behaviour, but big feelings are allowed. And while our kids don’t always need us to say yes, they do need to feel heard. All humans are more willing to cooperate once their feelings have been acknowledged. Our kids are no different.

So when your child wants something that you can’t (or won’t) say yes to, you can still show him that you empathise. Give him his wish in fantasy.

Here is an example. Imagine you’re in the supermarket with your child. You’re at the checkout and it’s been a long tiring day. You just want to get out of there and get home. Suddenly your child pipes up, ‘I want a lolly!’ You inwardly groan. It’s just before dinner and you need to say no! You can feel a tantrum brewing. The last thing you need is a public meltdown!

But it doesn’t have to end in a meltdown. Here’s what you do.

First, connect with your child. Touch him on the arm, get down to his level and make eye contact. 90% of good parenting is connection.

Then, give him what he wants in fantasy. Say, ‘I wish you could have a lolly! What kind would you get?’ Hopefully your child will start to calm down straight away, and think about the answer. ‘Freddo Frog’, he might say. ‘Oh that’s a great choice. I would pick lolly, or maybe freckles.’

Depending on how big your child’s feelings are, you might need to extend the fantasy. You might say, ‘What if our car was made of lollies, we’d never have to go to the supermarket again!’ Your child might say, ‘The wheels could be cookies!’

When you give your child what he wants in fantasy, it shows him that you understand his feelings and you care. Once he hears this, it is much easier for him to transition from overwhelmed by his big feelings, to dealing with a situation that (from his perspective) is less than ideal.

When you engage your child in fantasy you are speaking to him in his favourite language – play. This reinforces your connection. It also shows your child that even if the world sometimes feels unfair, it is basically safe. This is because he has felt heard and understood.

But does it work?

You might be wondering if this really works. I recently received an email from Alex, a guy who sat sceptically in one of my workshops as I described this very principle.

In the email he says, ‘I had just taken my daughter to swimming lessons when I got a text from my wife asking me to grab a few things from the supermarket. No problem’, he thought. But as he got to the checkout, his daughter, Edie, wanted a lolly. Alex said no, and immediately the tears appeared.

He says in his email, ‘Hang on, haven’t I heard this scenario before?’

So he put the principle into practice. He says, ‘I crouch down and with soft eyes tell Edie that I like lollies too.’ He says to her, ‘What sort of lolly,’ to which she replied, ‘red one’. ‘Oh I like red lollies too’, he says. ‘I like green ones as well. Do you like green ones?’

This goes on as they pay for the groceries, and when they leave Edie is calm and happily eating a banana. Alex says, ‘I was already feeling pretty smug about this but then turn round to see the other parent and an old guy behind me in the queue giving me a round of applause.’

We might not always get a round of applause but putting this principle into practice will help us through the tough ‘nos’ with our children. They may still want what they can’t have, but we’ll be able to playfully get them through it. And in the process, teach them.

 

Find more like this in the Happy Families Shop

Relationship Rules

21 Days to a Happier Family Online Program

10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know

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Are We Over-scheduling Our Kids?

Dear Dr Justin

My kids are in a lot of after-school activities. They swim and play a musical instrument each. Two of them do drama, and all three are in Saturday sport. My husband and I are arguing about how much is too much. It’s impacting on our time together as a family, and our budget. But the kids are tired and don’t seem to love much of what they’re doing even though they’ve chosen it. I want them to do less. My husband wants them to keep going and also wants to add maths tutoring. Is there any research to tell us what is right and wrong? When I was a kid, I played netball. That was it. I’d love some advice. My kids are 5, 7, and 10.

Exhausted.

Dr Justin responds:

Countless blog articles and even books have been written about whether our children are overscheduled. Experts and parents fear that kids are doing too much. They dramatically stir up concern that parents’ expectations are too high. Alarmists are screaming that the sky is falling and children are being deprived of a childhood because they have too many adults telling them what to do and when to do it and how they could have done it better.

Raising talented children (or at least raising children who have opportunities to develop talents) has become a competitive sport among some parents too, trying to outdo others with the impressive accomplishments of their child.

So do we need to ease off on the throttle? Or should we be exposing our children to as much enrichment as they can take? (And yes, budget has got to play a part. Some people reading this are wishing they could afford to have this problem.)

Why structured activities can be better than free play

At the outset, let’s acknowledge that free play and unstructured time is important for our children’s wellbeing. Kids need free time. And silence. Research tells us that both are important for our children’s healthy development. They need the opportunity to play, explore, be curious and creative, and be still. The more we schedule activities for them, the less free time, down time, and free play they have time for.

But, for many of us, it’s not so realistic. This is particularly the case when children are younger. This is the case for several reasons:

First, life is no longer “Leave it to Beaver”. Parents are working outside the home, the streets aren’t nearly as child-friendly as they were, and expectations around what’s safe for children have shifted.

Second, with the screen tsunami that has swept society, any opportunity our children may have for some ‘down’ time or free play is all-too-often subsumed by those screens. The benefits we seek are easily trumped by the digital distractions that are ever present.

Third, we feel good when our children are being watched by somebody responsible and learning at the same time. They’re safe. And they’re developing. That’s two big boxes we’ve just ticked! We’re making their lives better by ensuring they can play the guitar or dance or swim. While it costs money, we feel reassured that they’re not wasting their lives doing nothing… or worse, staring at that screen.

Fourth, when I leave my children alone for that “free-range” style of play, there’s a chance that someone ends up hurting a sibling. They fight.

Finally, parents are increasingly focused on success (narrowly defined as being better at things than others). It feels like our children’s lives are being optimised when we keep them busy and focused on mastery.

From a practical and psychological perspective, having the children involved in extra-curricular activities is the answer. No screens. No fighting. Learning. Safe. Optimised.

Research also tells us there are other benefits to structured activities. Sports give the opportunity for social skills, academic improvement, physical health, psychological wellbeing, and more. Music and the arts improve children’s memory, academic capacity, social skills, and so on. All of these activities potentially enhance feelings of competence, build relationships, and promote wellbeing.

Drawing a line in the sand

So what’s the answer? Are our children overscheduled? Do we need to pull back from extra-curricular opportunities and give our children more space to be children with no commitments or pressures or growth demands? Or should we embrace the benefits and push harder for more opportunity?

There is a line that balances the competing demands of structure, growth, and enrichment with stress, financial costs, and protecting childhood. The problem is – none of us really knows where that line is until we’ve crossed it. And it changes for each child… and it changes as they mature and develop.

Getting the balance right

Rather than me telling you where to draw that line, here are some questions to ask yourself so that you can get the balance right for your children.

  1. Am I anxious about my child’s success in life or am I trying to improve my child’s wellbeing?In other words, am I doing this because I want my kids to get ahead? Or am I doing this because it enhances their quality of life? The answer could be “both”, but this probably means that it’s about success and your anxiety about whether they’ll be good enough. “I’m doing this for you” can be said with sincerity, but it can also be said to mask the possibility that we are really doing this for ourselves and our view of what we think our child needs, regardless of their feelings.One way to identify our motivation is to ask:
  2. Does your child feel like you care about the outcomes more than they do?If your child gets the sense that missing that goal on the soccer field, not being selected for the rep. team, or failing in the Eisteddfod means they’re not good enough, then you may want to check yourself. This is meant to be about them having fun and learning. It’s not about them being the best and beating the best. When performance becomes a way of demonstrating personal worth and determining self-esteem, we’ve missed the point. If we care more about it than they do, we may have stepped over the line.Sometimes we care more about the outcomes because we care more about them and their lives than they do. We really do believe that if they are a concert pianist, or a representative soccer player, or insert excellence in specific activity here that their lives will be better. Sometimes we may be right. But plenty of people can’t play an instrument and are still, surprisingly wonderful humans.

Sometimes our children are simply unmotivated. This is unfortunate when we know we are giving them an opportunity for enrichment that is genuinely valuable. But generally speaking, if they don’t care and you do, you may have pushed things further than is worthwhile.

This doesn’t mean we should simply let them quit, by the way. In some cases we might suggest that they’re “so close” to the top of the metaphorical hill they’re climbing that a little more persistence is going to be worth it. Our wisdom may be persuasive in these instances. Another example is the importance of finishing school. For most children, this needs to happen even if they run out of puff with 47 days to go until the end of Year 12. Sometimes we must push and persist.

  1. Are your kids excited to participate?When you take your child to their lessons or sports, are they laughing and smiling, and energised? Or are they complaining and dragging their feet? Their energy levels around this activity can be a useful indicator of whether it’s working or not. There will be times when what they are doing is hard. They will lose motivation if they can’t master something. Persistence is sometimes required. But you will know they want to be there by the degree to which you convince, cajole, and coerce your child to get involved.

There are some practical things to consider that may influence your decision as well. Does your child have time to play with friends? Are they getting enough sleep? Does your child get free play time? Do you make time to do nothing alone, and together? That is, are we comfortable being alone together?

Age as a factor

The research tells us that our children benefit greatly from structured, planned, formal activities. If we have the resources, these activities are great for our children’s development. But age may be a factor.

Before about age 10, participation in structured activities should be limited and all about fun. If they want to play sport, or be involved in music and drama, this should be encouraged. But participation should be about fun and mastery. Scores are irrelevant. Best and fairest awards are redundant. Competitiveness, exams, and progression are secondary to enjoyment, mastery, and relationships.  The entire focus should be letting children be children.

Once the kids get to 10, let them choose. Give them options. Enrich their lives. It doesn’t matter so much how many activities they’re doing at this age. What matters is the messages you send about their participation in those activities, and the extent to which they enjoy them. The questions above can help you get the balance right.

Even more important is the message they receive from you about how important they are to you. And that doesn’t come from time in activities. It comes from time with you.


For more on this topic check out these great books and resources…

Families who integrate the principles described in What Your Child Needs From You into their everyday lives will be more peaceful, harmonious and functional, and will raise children who grow into kind and compassionate adults. | Dr Justin Coulson21 Days to a Happier Family online program - Dr Justin Coulson21 Days to a Happier Family | Dr Justin Coulson Book Cover

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7 Steps to Stressing Less in Parenting

Of all the jobs in the world, parenting must be one of the toughest, most challenging, and most confronting things we can do. Children are hard to understand, and sometimes they feel impossible to control. We regularly feel overwhelmed and incapable of getting it right – especially on those bad days.

Just last week I was solo-parenting. My wife was away for a few days with a friend who was grieving the loss of her husband. I had the six kids and was feeling ok until… Sunday morning my three-year-old fed all the fish food to the fish. We had a big container with about a two-year supply. And apparently overfeeding fish can kill them! We have an outside pond and I spent twenty minutes with a kitchen strainer, fishing the food out of the pond in the cold.

I walked back into the house and discovered that she had opened the fireplace. I had removed the safety screen to get the fire started when I discovered the fish food issue and forgotten to place the screen back where it belonged. The fire was out and the fireplace was cold. The toddler saw this as a wonderful opportunity to cover the floor with ash, step in it, and run footprints all through the house – on both the floorboards and the carpet!

At the same time, someone told me we were out of milk for breakfast, and I was now running late for a commitment. It was like something out of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Stress!

Stress typically comes from a feeling that we are out of control. When we feel pressured or when we feel we have no choices available to us, stress builds up. We feel anger. We experience headaches or stomach churn. We become discouraged and feel helpless. It’s as though there’s nothing we can do to solve the problems we face.

Broaden and Build

When we feel stressed, our thinking becomes rigid and narrow. We can usually only see what’s right in front of us, and only one way of dealing with it. We tend not to notice how rigid and narrow we’ve become, however, because… well, we’ve become rigid and narrow.

When we can step back from our stress, observe it, and be “calm” about it, we see more possibilities and perspectives. We feel a reduction in our stress. Our thinking becomes broader, and we build up resources through relationships, clearer thinking, and better health.

That’s all fine in theory, of course, but when we’re in the thick of the daily drama, stress happens fast. We don’t step back and breathe. We don’t count to ten. We go into survival mode and start on that rigid, narrow pathway to stressful living.

7 Steps to Stressing Less

The ideas below can help you to manage and deal with stress when it surfaces:

1. Recognise what sets you off

Simply becoming aware of those stressors helps you to avoid them, or plan contingencies. You might know that mornings are a stressful time. By recognising this, you can proactively create new habits to make mornings work better. Organise children’s uniforms, shoes, and lunchboxes before bed. Create a breakfast menu so the children can choose their breakfast ahead of time. Establish a simple checklist for the children to follow. Wake up 15 minutes early to allow yourself more time.

2. Accept that you can’t fix everything

Sometimes that simple acknowledgement can change the game. When we know stress is coming and accept it, we feel calmer. The stress is strangely less stressful. Acceptance is a powerful tool in stress reduction.

Remember, too, that sometimes patience is the answer. Children eventually start to use the toilet. Three-year-olds do stop colouring in the leather sofa and the walls with pens. Eventually they develop and mature. You can’t fix some stuff. It simply has to work itself out over time.

3. Find the funny

If we can use humour, we can reduce stress. My friend, Wally, holds special training sessions for his kids when things go wrong at home. As an example, if the lights are left on, he calls the family together to discuss a terrible crime. “Someone has snuck into the house and left the lights on. It was probably an elephant. Let’s go elephant hunting and switch off all the lights as we search the house.” The more ridiculous, the better! This works best when we can step back from the narrow, rigid thinking that accompanies stress and make up something funny – and kind – to get the family working together.

4. Rehearse a reminder

Steve Biddulph says we should always be calmer than our children. That’s easier said than done when stress levels are climbing. I have a reminder that I try to rehearse in tough times: “Calm and kind.” I remind myself that I need to be calm and kind when I want to be highly-strung and horrible! And most of the time it works quite well.

 

5. Look after yourself

If you’re not getting enough sleep, if you’re using alcohol unhealthily (or other drugs at all), or if you’re not taking care of yourself emotionally, stress will build faster and hurt your family more.

 

 

6. Teach when everything is calm

It is tempting to discipline while we are in the moment with our kids. We want to “sort this stuff out now!” But recognising that we can talk later means everyone can calm down and relax a little before dealing with drama.

My favourite example of this was told to me by a man who had just bought a new car. His son begged to drive it on a date that night and dad said “ok”. As he left, the boy remembered something he had left in the house so he jumped out of the car and ran to get it. There was a massive crash. He raced to the window with his dad, and saw the car at the bottom of the driveway, smashed into a car parked on the street. He had forgotten to put the handbrake on, and left it in neutral. His father took a deep breath and quietly said, “I guess you’ll need to take the old car tonight.”

This dad knew that dealing with the drama in the moment might not be best. He knew his son would feel awful. And he knew that whether they talked about it that night or the next morning would make no difference. So he calmly reduced stress, handed over the keys, and avoided conflict and stress.

7. Get help

If you experience high levels of stress, if you feel out of control, or if anger is overtaking you, help is widely available. When you feel overwhelmed, discouraged, or even suicidal, get help! Go to your GP. Talk to your mum or your best friend. Arrange for someone to help a few hours each week. Just get help.

There are dozens of other ways that you can reduce stress for yourself. These might include giving yourself a daily 20 minute vacation by taking a bath, going on a walk, seeing a friend, or reading a book. Therapy and letting go of the past may be options. Scheduling a walk on the beach or a picnic in the park on a Saturday morning might be just what your family needs to de-stress.

As with most challenges in life, answers are rarely simple. But stress is not your family’s friend. These steps may be simple starting points to reduce stress and raise resilience.


For more on keeping family life stress-free, check out these great resources…

What if happiness and success were attainable right NOW? I've got 5 surprising secrets to creating a happier more successful you | Dr Justin Coulson

21 Days to a Happier Family book is designed for busy parents who want their kids to be better, themselves to be calmer, and their family to be happier | Justin Coulson's Happy Families

21 Days to a Happier Family online program - Dr Justin Coulson

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Why do teenagers become ‘allergic’ to their parents?

It starts around 13, but we’re asking why do teenagers become ‘allergic’ to their parents?

TIPS FOR PARENTS:

  1. Stay close to your kids – be present so they know they’re loved.
  2. Have appropriate limits – remember: it’s not about doing things to them, it’s about working with them.
  3. Laugh together. Make your relationship fun.

Check out the video here

 

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Emotional Intelligence

The bell had just rung for the end of recess. Children were heading back to their classrooms, and Year 1 teacher Mrs Boonen was preparing to return to hers when she noticed one of her students stumbling across the playground towards her, fists clenched, rubbing her eyes, sobbing. Mrs Boonen crouched to the ground and extended her arms to Amelia, and the six-year-old rushed into her teacher’s embrace. 

Mrs Boonen asked, ‘Amelia, what happened?’ Amelia pulled away from her teacher and pointed to a group of girls leaving the playground and walking to the classroom. ‘She …’ (sobbing) ‘… she …’ (more sobs) ‘… pointed at me.’ The accusation was followed by more tears. 

Mrs Boonen was confused. ‘She pointed at you?’ Compassion was quickly turning to incredulity. 

Amelia nodded, feeling the change that had come over her teacher. 

Imagine for a moment that you are Mrs Boonen. What do you say to Amelia? (And what do you want to say?) 

The Standard Response 

Most people – parents or teachers (or managers at work when we’re dealing with grown-ups) know what that they’re supposed to say. But in the moment, well… we just kinda say what we want to say instead. It usually sounds like, “Oh come one. Toughen up princess.” 

But what impact does such a hard-nosed response have on a child – or even a big person, like, say… a spouse or partner? 

Typically the person feels misunderstood. We’ve tuned them out. We’ve turned away from them, or worse, we’ve turned against them. 

These responses rarely inspire others to be more resilient in future. Instead, they are left feeling unimportant, unworthy, and unloved. 

A Better Response 

It’s tempting to shout at the kids that they need to get over themselves. It’s easy to imagine ourselves using our size and strength to “just get it taken care of”. But we probably won’t enjoy the outcomes we want most. 

Sure, from time to time we really do need to force the issue. Life sometimes gets like that. But a different response will lead to better outcomes; for the other person and for us. 

Emotional intelligence requires us to do four things: 

1. Become aware of how we’re feeling. 

Am I feeling angry? Upset? Frustrated? Chances are high that my response may not be helpful right now. Often we’re so caught up in the moment that we don’t pause to consider how we’re being affected. Yet this is vital to responding well. 

2. Regulate our own emotions. 

Have you ever shouted at someone that they should “Just. Calm. Down.”? Notice how calm you are… not. We can’t ask something of our kids that we can’t even manage to do ourselves. We’ve got to stay calm, kind, and connected. 

If you did shout at your child to calm down, did both you and they instantly lock eyes, slowly inhale for three seconds, then hold that breath… and exhale, before smiling and confirming, “Ok. I’m calm. Let’s talk things through”? 

Emotions are contagious. It’s very, very challenging to help someone through their fear, sadness, or anger when our emotions are high. Knowing how we’re feeling (step 1) and regulating our emotions to keep ourselves in check allows us to think more broadly and helpfully in our efforts to help someone else. 

3. Show empathy 

So how is your child (or the other person) really feeling? Are they old enough to regulate their emotions? What about their behaviour? Or is it too hard? Are they tired or so upset that they can’t control themselves? Do they know how to communicate their feelings? 

While it’s tempting to tell someone, particularly a child (or an adult behaving like one) to “calm down” or “stop it”, they’re unlikely to follow our directives. Statements of instruction should always be preceded by statements of understanding.  

Empathy is feeling your emotion in my heart. When I know you get how it feels to be me, I’m more likely to listen to you. When I feel like you’re judging me, I get defensive and turn away. 

4. “Work with” rather than “do things to” the other person 

Once we’re aware of how we are doing and in control, and we really get how the other person is going, we can start to deal with things. We recognise that the other person isn’t the problem… but they may be having one. So we work with them to figure things out rather than doing things to them as a punishment. 

Mrs Boonen may have wanted to get angry at her student. But she paused and considered her feelings. She got herself under control and tried to be empathic. “You’re really upset about this? Because she pointed at you?” She then asked if anything else had happened. Amelia explained that the girls had stolen her lunch and thrown it in the bin. When she threatened to tell the teacher, they pointed at her and laughed. That was why she had spoken as she did to her teacher. 

It can be particularly tough working with younger children. They usually have limited self-regulation ability, and even less emotional intelligence.  Our best bet is to stay calm, show empathy and then as they catch our calm we can explain where those big emotions come from, shift the focus towards solutions (and away from the emotion itself), and gently empower them to come up with great ways to make things better. 

Some kids (and those who work with them) will be high on emotional intelligence. They’ll know how they feel, regulate it well, perceive others’ emotional states, and work with them to keep everything calm. But for most, it’s a learned skill that takes lots of practice. Fortunately, life gives us lots of chances to practice this particular skill. 

Learning how to be emotionally intelligent is a big challenge for kids (and adults), but it’s a vital skill that improves relationships, wellbeing, and life. 

Find more like this in our Happy Families Store.

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