Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Supna Shah, Founder of WeGo-Kids, a company which encourages kids to be active and kind. Check them out at http://www.wego-kids.com.
Please tell us a little about yourself, what drew you to mindful education, and the WeGo-Kids mission.
As a mom of 5 year old triplets, I was drawn to mindful education as soon as they were born. My past experiences with yoga, mindfulness, and serving as a solid foundation for building emotional intelligence allowed me to start the triplets with conscious breathing from the day they were born. As they got older, I saw the amazing effects of the tools I had taught them from birth. They had the ability to recognize and process their own emotions, and understand the emotions of others. They were able to live a tantrum free childhood, which, in turn, made parenting triplets much easier for me. Once I fully understood how effective the techniques were, I began to see that they understood many thing we spend out adult life trying to learn. The ability to be present, to verbally share gratitude after any activity, to take initiative, develop inner drive, help and learn from others, take a leadership role or a supporting role as they saw was needed by the situation. WeGo-kids is built on the pillars of teaching children to be active from an early age, and delivering content that teaches parents how to raise their children with emotional intelligence from birth. So that, together, we can raise world changers, eliminate childhood obesity, bullying, and raise a generation who can lead the world to a better place.
You are the Founder of Parenting WebTV Network, and Host of parentTALK.tv and #raisingEI. Can you explain the difference between those 3 programs, and also what EI is and why it is so important?
WeGo kids has 2 arms: retail and content. Our retail arm is the clothing line. Our content arm is the Parenting WebTV & Podcast Network. We deliver 3 weekly WebTV shows and a podcast to parents- delivering parenting education in a fun and entertaining way. parentTALK is one of the shows on the network. Think of “The View” for parents. It brings together 4-5 parents from different backgrounds and parenting styles to share tips and parent hacks on a particular topic: we tackle everything from “What do we do when our kids don’t eat dinner?” to “How do we talk to our kids about terrorist attacks.” The idea is to give viewers 4-5 different examples of how other parents are tackling these topics, to give them a breath and depth of experience to choose from and to know they’re not alone. #raisingEI is an interview based show on the network. As the host, I interview subject matter experts, who are also parents, and share with our viewers an emotional intelligence approach to everyday parenting. One of the interviews was with Rebecca Walser. She’s an expert who has been on Bloomberg business, CBS, NBC, ABC, etc, she has a book on the Amazon best sellers list in 4 categories. She also has 3 kids, the youngest of whom is 5. I interviewed her about how we can teach children about financial responsibility, instill inner drive from a young age, and teach our kids to have a health emotional understanding of money.
Emotional Intelligence is the #1 predictor of success as an adult; adults with EI earn $17K a year more than their counterparts, are sought after by 85% of the headhunters in the US, and are the leaders who are making a positive impact around the world. Those individuals with higher levels of EQ also have measured higher levels of IQ as a result. EI also is a predictor of relationships with friends and family and overall happiness as an adults. Adults with higher levels of EI have lower BMIs, better relationships with peers, family and friends, and are healthier and lead happier lives.
How do you suggest we teach kids about emotional intelligence, and how do we get them to want to learn it?
Illinois is the leader in the US in integrating social and emotional learning from kindergarten, it’s part of their everyday curriculum and they have documented lower bullying, lowering medication for children in the system, and several other factors. Integrating social and emotional learning in schools is a critical step in moving the country forward. However, I’m focused on the root. Parents. If we can teach parents about EI, give them a road map to teach their children from birth to age 6, when they get in the schools, it will simply be a matter of maintenance and continued development. I think if we can drive change through parents, we can see a huge impact quickly.
If you had to pick one way for kids to get active in elementary school, middle school, and high school, to help positively shape their future behavior and health, what would it be?
The answer is downtime and free play. Our society has a misunderstanding of productivity and time spent. The one way to get kids active and positively shape their future behavior and health, is to mandate an hour of free play, aside from PE, into every curriculum.
What advice do you have for teachers, administrators, healthcare practitioners, kids, and especially parents as it relates to social emotional learning?
Investing time, money, and resources in a strong social and emotional learning foundation for our children from birth is the most important thing we can do to reverse the trajectory we are on right now. Science has documented that if we focus on this now, we can reduce bullying, obesity, suicide rates in our children, and raise happier, healthier, more productive children who will be able to change the world we live in for the better.
Thank you Ms. Supna Shah for speaking with me. Everyone go watch the Parenting WebTV Network, tell your friends, we have to be teaching this stuff in Pre-K!
About Adam and Wuf Shanti: Adam is the [now] 14 year-old creator of Wuf Shanti, Yoga Dog for Kids. He wants to help get this message out to kids everywhere, and their parents, teachers, and doctors, because he thinks it is so important right now with everything going on in the world, and he wants to help stop the violence. Wuf Shanti is a character that was created by a kid for other kids, and travels to schools and children’s hospitals to share yoga, meditation, and mindfulness with children to promote health and wellness, and encourage peace and positivity. Wuf Shanti videos can be seen on the Children’s TV Network in children’s hospitals across the country, on local PBS stations, on the Wuf Shanti Yoga Fun Machine mindful mobile app, and on the Wuf Shanti YouTube Channel. Wuf Shanti videos, books, and mobile app were awarded the Mom’s Choice Award for “Best in Family-Friendly Media, Products, and Services” and the mobile app was named “Best Health App for Kids” by Common Sense Media. To learn more about Wuf Shanti, visit www.wufshanti.com and/or join us on social media. www.facebook.com/wufshanti