During the summer while children are out of school, families are spending more time together. Take this survey to check your family’s emotional well-being.
Track the numbers that correspond to your best answer to each of the following questions: 0 = rarely; 1 = sometimes; 2 = frequently; 3 = all the time.
How often do you…
- Talk together as a family?
- Ask your kids how they are feeling about activities, friends, family?
- Avoid the tendency to blame when things go wrong?
- Listen deeply without interrupting?
- Express your care or appreciation directly to each of your children?
- Make a sincere effort to be in your heart — bring more love, fun and humor to the family?
- Set and enforce bottom-line rules with “caring heart” (about TV, music, activities, dating, homework, chores, language, behavior)?
Total the numbers. A score of 0-10 is poor, 11-15 is good and 15 or more is very good.
No matter your score, you can increase your emotional well-being as a family with these exercises.
- As a parent, remember that the first essential bonding is with your own heart. Practice increasing your own heart connection and emotional balance, and loving your children for whom they are, mistakes and all.
- Loving your children doesn’t mean giving into their demands. Show children more understanding and care, while setting bottom-line rules regarding unacceptable behavior. This builds a foundation of emotional security.
- Tools for Well-Being: These helpful tools for reducing stress and self-managing emotions incorporate your body’s own heart intelligence and capacity for self-healing. They can help you in the moment virtually anywhere to create a feeling of ease and inner harmony. Developed by HeartMath researchers, these tools activate the heart and body’s natural rhythms, allowing you to become more coherent. Coherence is a healthful and optimal state for your immune system, cognitive function, communication, creativity, intuition and more.
- Set times to check in with your children on a regular basis. Find out what they’re thinking and feeling. Don’t leave children alone for extended periods where they might be exposed to only TV, movies, video games, the Internet, and their peers. Children need your consistent support and guidance in learning about the world.
- Spend five minutes alone sending appreciation to your children, especially when they are having a hard time. Sending appreciation will also help to rebuild your heart connection with a child with whom you’ve had a rough communication.
- Practice listening from your heart when your children speak. Be sincere when you speak with them — genuine, real and honest. Don’t use sarcasm or other reactive language.