Anger. Fear. Disgust. Joy. Sadness.

According to Pixar’s new movie Inside Out, these are the emotions vying for a front row seat in the control center of your child’s brain. Sound familiar? As parents, we understand the impact of these crazy characters. Whether they can be properly managed and controlled ultimately determines the kind of person your child will become.

In this emotional roller coaster of a film, Pixar brilliantly depicts what many experts call the next big wave in education: emotional intelligence, or EQ. At the core of EQ is impulse control, a skill that has been proven to catapult a child’s life to great success or—if lacking—to great failure.

But where does impulse control come from? And how do we make sure our own kids have it?

As a mom of three, I wanted to answer these questions for my own kids. Inspired by decades of research that identify social and emotional skills the greatest correlate to life success, I didn’t want my kids leaving the house at age 18 having merely memorized a bunch of stuff. I wanted them to be emotionally intelligent: to be able to control their impulses, to understand, lead, connect and empathize with others.

So I set out to find more answers, and learned some great news! Amidst all the national talk about how impulse control and social awareness can determine a child’s fate, the celebration-worthy news for us parents is that it can be taught at home with just a little practice and repetition. 

I spent years researching, developing and designing a set of games, tools, and toys that parents and teachers can use to make learning these important non-academic skills fun and easy. These “Q toys” and tools by EQtainment are now available at all Target stores and (!

The board game Q’s Race to the Top (for ages 3-6) was designed with this practice and repetition in mind, and through answering questions about themselves, advising the genius monkey “Q” on social scenarios, and tackling whacky physical challenges, kids are learning emotional and physical self-control, social skills, and teamwork.

So the next time it seems like Anger, Fear, Disgust, Joy and Sadness are battling it out in your child’s control center, take the time as a parent to listen.

These emotions your child is experiencing provide little insights into areas you can work on together. Some of the simplest activities, reading a book, playing a game like Q’s Race to the Top, even practicing balance and coordination, can give your little one’s “control panel” some operational support.

While taking your kids to see Inside Out this summer (in theaters June 19) may provide a colorful window into your child’s thoughts, remember you can begin teaching your kids now how to develop their emotional intelligence, even at a very young age. Parent Cue and EQtainment want to equip you with tools to help take your child’s EQ learning to the next level.


Sofia Dickens is the founder of EQtainment, a former educational tv host, and a mom of three kids. Her mission is to make learning EQ fun and affordable for all children. To join the Q parents movement, go, and please connect with EQtainment on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For Q products, go to: