How do you FEEL?

With the changes in our lives and routines, our children will be experiencing a range of emotions. We have created some Jog the Frog colouring in pages for you to talk about feelings to your little ones and to encourage them to express themselves. Please feel free to download these here.

Supporting your child’s emotional well-being by Just BEING

By CEO of the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning, Jeffrey Guenzel

The other day I wrote about how one of the best ways to think about supporting you child’s social emotional health is to use the first six Functional Emotional Developmental Capacities (FEDCs) as a guide. With each capacity, we can do things that can help our children stay calm, regulated, engaged, active, happy, connected, thinking, and overall more stable emotionally and physically.  In the last blog, I focused on the functional emotional developmental capacity (FEDC) of self-regulation and interest in the world.  Today I am going to move onto the second FEDC of Engaging and Relating.

FEDC 2: Engaging and Relating

This capacity focuses on the ability to engage and relate with others.  It is a very simple, yet fundamental, process.  It is about the joy of BEING with someone else.  This goes all the way back to a baby in mom or dad’s arms with a big smile, laughs, and that pure joy and love of being in their parent’s arms, looking at their face, and being totally consumed by the connection.

In our world of TVs, computers, tablets, phones and all things that fall under the word “devices” this pure engagement or just BEING with each other can be remarkably infrequent and even elusive.  But, in times of stress, like many are facing now, there is not much more valuable to our health than just BEING  with someone else that loves us.

Being vs. Doing.  Many times as parents we think of time with our kids as doing something.  Going to the movies, playing on the playground, playing Chutes and Ladders, eating, or whatever it may be.  That is all great and there is nothing wrong with that.  However, all of those things are centered around DOING.  In our world of doing, doing, doing all the time, many have forgotten about the power and joy of BEING.  Please note, these are not mutually exclusive.  You can be with our child while you are doing.  However, you can also do with your child without being…and that is the danger.  Especially now with the financial and health stresses all around us, it can be very hard to just be.  How can we just be when we have so much to do?  The conundrum about this is that we are not going to be as effective doing if we don’t allow ourselves to just be.  Also, our children’s emotional health and well-being need time with us to just be with them.

Here is the simple tip

Even just twice a day for a few minutes each time, make sure your child feels from you that they are the most important person in the world at that moment to you.  Don’t focus on the devices or the DOING.  Focus on the BEING.  It may feel strange at first.  What do I do?  How do I do it?  One tip goes back to an old saying that goes like this, “God gave you two ears and one mouth.  It is best to use them in that proportion.”  In other words, listen more than you speak.  And even if no words are used, the same idea applies and can be thought of as “follow more than you lead.”  This may sound overly simple, but I find that people don’t do this nearly enough with those they love.  And our children will eat it up because we are human beings, not human doings. Being in relation with others is a key to our emotional well-being and our kids need it now more than ever.

Here is a cute example of a father hanging out with his son.  The content, or what they are DOING, does not matter.  But, this is great stuff.  And I am certain, knowing all we know about brain development and the importance of BEING on brain development, this is really good for this little boy.  I am also certain Dad is feeling great about it too.

About Jeffrey Guenzel 

I am the CEO of the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning, Inc (ICDL). I am a professional counselor and have been providing clinical counseling services for 25 years. For the past 15 years of my career, I have been in leadership roles in both the private and public sectors. I was the inaugural executive director of The Partnership for Children of Essex, a wonderful not-for-profit in New Jersey serving thousands of children with emotional and developmental challenges. I then served in state government for several years as the Director of Child Behavioral Health Services and the Deputy Commission of the Department of Children and Families for the State of New Jersey. I have been leading ICDL since 2013 and loving carrying forward our vision of creating a world where everyone can achieve their fullest potential.

I have been married for over 25 years and am the proud father of three incredible children.

Please e-mail me if you have any questions or if I can be of assistance. My e-mail is

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