This month our Bangkok Faces feature introduces Susanna Nicol a children’s EQ (Emotional Intelligence) specialist.
What Is Your Nationality And Background?
I am a US citizen, but have lived abroad for most my life – I was born and raised in a rural village in Nigeria, West Africa, where my parents were missionaries for over a decade. I consider myself to be a “global citizen” as I thrive in international communities, having also lived in Germany, Hong Kong, and now here in Thailand for the past 2 years.
What Is Your Profession?
I am the founder of EQ for kidz, a training program that accelerates kids’ emotional intelligence skills and guides parents to be lifelong “Emotion Coaches.” I created this program based on evidence that cultivating emotional intelligence in early childhood leads to better relationships, success and happiness throughout one’s life.
What Are The Key Skills & Responsibilities Of This Role?
In designing our 10-week EQ for kidz program, I have combined the latest research in the field with my extensive experience working with children in home and school settings. During the program, I coach families through a process of building emotional intelligence and social skills in children ages 4 – 11. The process starts by meeting with families to conduct a free EQ assessment in their home and customizing a suitable program to meet their needs.
In addition to our standard EQ for kidz program, I deliver parent workshops on communication, empathy, self-regulation and other EQ topics at various international schools.
How Did You Get Involved In Your Profession?
From a young age, my high-EQ mother home-schooled my older sister and I. Much of what I learned about communicating, managing my emotions, practicing resilience, cultivating a growth mindset and maintaining healthy relationships, I learned from her (as is true for most children). We learn these important skills by watching how our parents manage themselves and deal with challenges.
In 2014, I completed two degrees in Early Childhood Education and Developmental Psychology. My path as an early childhood educator with a research-informed lens has made itself clearer and clearer over time. After teaching with international schools in Bangkok, Hong Kong, and the U.S. for the past 6 years, I am excited to do what I am uniquely gifted to do as I manage my EQ for kidz business full-time.
How Does Your Role Enhance The Wellbeing Or Experience Of Children?
As the founder and child EQ specialist at EQ for kidz, I guide parents to become lifelong “Emotion Coaches” for their young children. Throughout the 10-week program, children develop the five essential EQ skills (R.U.L.E.R.) through engaging games, books, activities, and practical application:
*RULER Program, Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence
The EQ for kidz program is customizable: parents choose the top 3 emotional intelligence skills of focus for their child from the following list (or we can develop a new one together!):
By developing these crucial life skills, children increase awareness of their own thoughts and feelings. They are then better able to manage themselves, which leads to better motivation, self-confidence, communication skills, and ability to connect with others.
What Challenges Do You Face In This Role?
One common challenge that I’ve come across in my work with families is that parents hate to see their little ones upset or angry, so they distract them or try to solve the problem for them. By responding in this way, they are effectively taking away their child’s ability to understand and manage their own feelings. Children learn that something is wrong with them and those feelings and cannot develop resiliency. Even with the best of intentions, parents are creating the opposite effect of what they want for their child.
So, my challenge is getting parents to realize truths such as this and giving them the best tools to achieve what they hope for their child.
What Do You Hope To Achieve Within Your Industry?
In today’s world, kids are experiencing more stress than ever before. Anxiety and depression are being diagnosed more often at a younger age. Parents need support and practical tools to coach their child through life’s challenges. By giving parents and children specific techniques and practices, I help families build their “Emotional Immune System”.
My key objectives are to:
1. Empower children ages 4 -11 to unleash their full potential and progress into successful, happy and healthy adults.
2. Support parents to become lifelong “Emotion Coaches” for their children. (I say lifelong because these skills take a lifetime of practice!)
3. Improve parent-child relationships and create a more peaceful, loving home.
Who Or What Inspires You?
The person who taught me the most about emotional intelligence is my amazing mother, who home-schooled my sister and I in a Nigerian village. With her high EQ, she knew that it was crucial to teach us these skills when we were young. My mom still inspires me every day to be the best me I can be!
If you would like to know more about Susanna’s EQ programme she can be contacted at [email protected]
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