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    RULER and Emotional Intelligence:
    Overview for Families

    RULER Skills
    Recognizing emotions: Using cures to understand what we are feeling

    Understanding emotions: Understanding the causes and consequences of an emotion


    Labeling emotions: Giving emotions a name

    Expressing emotions: How we show and express our emotions and how we show our emotions 
    in socially appropriate ways


    Regulating emotions: What we think about or do to feel more or less of an emotion or to keep
    feeling the same amount of an emotion

    Practicing RULER at Home
    Pay attention to your emotions and the emotions of your children.
    Point out and discuss the facial expressions, vocal changes, and body language that reflect different emotions.

    Discuss with your children what leads them to feel a range of emotions. Share how your feelings have affected your thoughts and behavior.

    Use a wide range of emotion words with your children.
    Encourage your children to find the best word to describe their feelings.

    Talk about what your body looks like when you are
    angry, excited, sad, or calm.
    Help children evaluate the best time and place to express their feelings.

    Model many different effective strategies for your children
    when you manage your own feelings.
    Help your children find useful and successful strategies
    for managing the range of emotions they experience.


    Mood meter graphicThe Mood Meter is a tool to build emotional awareness and understanding. Everyone in the family can get involved by agreeing to check in with themselves and each other on the Mood Meter.

    First, you ‘plot’ your feelings in one of the quadrants, then think about the specific name of that feeling.  Next you can reflect on what caused you to feel that way, and consider the consequences of that feeling. You can choose a strategy to maintain your mood or to shift it. And you can share your feeling, understanding and strategies with everyone in the family.

    Family chartThe Family Charter is an agreement about how family members want to feel as part of family life. The Family Charter names specific behaviors likely to evoke and support those feelings, and includes constructive ways of handling conflict. It is a powerful tool to encourage personal and social responsibility to work together towards creating the kind of emotional climate that everyone wants. The Family Charter is creatively displayed, signed by everyone in the family, and revisited often over time.

    Mood MeterThe Meta Moment is a tool for prolonging the space in time between when you feel triggered by something or someone and when you respond to that trigger. This 6-step ‘mindful’ process, in addition to slowing us down for the moment, helps each of us to build character by invoking an image of our Best Self. By identifying what “triggers” us, and what we are like when we are our Best Selves, we can be proactive about developing thought and action strategies that align with our values and meet our larger goals.

    Blue printThe Blueprint is a tool for helping family members to develop empathy and perspective. Using questions anchored in the skills of emotional intelligence, the Blueprint encourages both children and adults to consider one another’s thoughts and feelings when resolving conflicts or differences, and to identify constructive solutions. Used effectively, the Blueprint builds compassion and trusting relationships within the family, and engenders optimism in the challenging moments of everyday family life.