How to Help Kids Learn Social and Emotional Skills at Home

Social-emotional learning (SEL) teaches vital life skills such as how to help kids learn social and emotional skills. Discover ways to incorporate it into your child’s everyday life.

It is true that knowledge is power, yet academic excellence is only one component of a good education. In addition to developing healthy identities, managing emotions, setting goals, expressing empathy, forming connections, and making decisions, children must also acquire social and emotional abilities. Social-emotional learning refers to the teaching and practice of these skills (SEL).

The benefits of SEL for students range from higher academic performance to stronger friendships. In addition, those with great social and emotional competence are more likely to graduate from high school and earn a bachelor’s degree in the future.

Social-emotional learning is so essential that it has its own day: World SEL Day, celebrated on the second Friday of March. It honors the importance of SEL for students worldwide with a new theme each year, such as “Building Bridges, Reimagining Communities” and “Uplifting Hearts, Linking Minds.”

Many schools include some type of SEL in their curriculum, but it is very simple to engage in SEL activities at home. Continue reading to learn more about the advantages of SEL and how to incorporate the principles into everyday life.

Five Core Competencies of Social-Emotional Learning

If you are wondering, “What is social and emotional learning?” It may be useful to comprehend the five primary areas of practice. The Collaboration for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), a leader in SEL instruction, has defined them.

1. Self-consciousness

Self-awareness is the cultivation of a deeper comprehension of one’s emotions, goals, beliefs, strengths, and flaws. Understanding the connection between ideas and actions might help you make more informed decisions.

2. Self-management.

After you have an understanding of your emotions and actions, self-management is essential for regulating them. You will achieve your objectives more quickly if you practice impulse control and evaluate your performance in specific scenarios.

3. Making responsible decisions.

When making constructive decisions, those with responsible decision-making abilities consider their own aims, social circumstances, and self-understanding. This promotes comprehension of cause and effect and the results of activities.

4. Social consciousness.

Social awareness assists children in forming and sustaining healthy connections. This competency requires comprehending and empathizing with others, especially those of diverse races, genders, ethnicities, ages, and religions.

5. Interpersonal skills.

This crucial SEL competency teaches children how to behave in accordance with social standards. Key components include communication, cooperation, listening, conflict management, and emotional intelligence.

Advantages of Social and Emotional Learning

Social-emotional learning instruction offers numerous benefits for children. According to a 2011 meta-analysis of the effects of SEL, the following benefits have been identified:

  • Better academic achievement.
  • Better classroom conduct
  • Enhanced capacity to deal with stress and despair.
  • Enhanced self-esteem
  • Improved attitude toward individuals and school.

In a study published in American Journal of Public Health issue featuring 753 kindergarteners from the early 1990s, researchers examined the correlation between kindergarten social competency and future health.

Cooperation, helpfulness, empathy, and problem-solving were among the criteria used by teachers to assess the social competence of their students. After 20 years, researchers evaluated these children’s schooling, employment, public assistance, criminal behavior, mental health, and substance abuse.

According to the findings, kindergarten prosocial skills were statistically significant or uniquely predictive of the following outcomes:

  • Double the likelihood of early adulthood college completion.
  • 54% more likely to acquire a high school diploma.
  • They have a 46% better likelihood of having full-time employment at age 25.

In contrast, lower social competency scores were connected with an increased likelihood of incarceration, binge drinking, marijuana use, and the requirement for public housing.

Social and Emotional Learning Exercises

SEL need not be restricted to the classroom! These at-home activities can refine your child’s social and emotional skills, allowing him or her to flourish in various situations.

Absorb media with understanding.

Transform your child’s television viewing time into a SEL lesson on social cues and emotion recognition. When anything emotional occurs, pause the show and ask your youngster how the character feels. For instance, are they happy, frustrated, embarrassed, fearful, delighted, or hopeful? This activity can also be performed while listening to music, reading a book, or watching a movie.

Create plans and to-do lists.

Does your child require assistance with time management and making responsible decisions, such as finishing homework and chores on time? Assist them in creating an organized to-do list, daily agenda, or “vision board” that outlines their future goals. They will gain experience in goal-setting and decision-making as a result.

Reduce stress.

Sometimes life gets stressful—even for tiny toddlers. Help your child identify when they are feeling fatigued or upset (self-awareness), and teach them how to control their emotions through mindfulness activities, exercise, or music (self-management). This social and emotional development practice can help even adults!

A journal for self-exploration.

Encourage your child to talk about specific things that make them happy on a regular basis, like walking the family dog, playing board games with siblings, or eating their favorite meal. This could be done once a week. Students will practice being self-aware (knowing what they like) and managing themselves (understanding how they react when they do things they like).

Stimulate emotions.

What does it look like to be joyful or sad? What about shocked or anxious? Encourage your youngster to communicate common feelings via art. As students create the visuals, they will consider their own and others’ thoughts and emotions. Your child may also identify the emotions with certain hues (for example, red means angry).

Engage in random acts of kindness.

Encourage your youngster to look for ways to serve others throughout the day. Perhaps it is holding the door open, complimenting a friend’s new clothes, expressing gratitude, or inviting a new person to play. During this social and emotional learning practice, they will develop social awareness and relationship skills.

Write letters.

Restore the practice of letter writing! When your child writes letters to family and friends, they develop relationship skills by thinking about social connections.

Audition a podcast.

Loss, isolation, and sadness are challenging feelings to manage. But, Emotion Motion, a podcast introduced in September 2020 by SEL specialists at Move This World, can help children process these emotions. It has an interactive element, so children will enjoy contemplating and managing their emotions.

Volunteer or give.

Superior socio-emotional competency enables children to empathize with persons of varying economic and social standings. Develop this ability by volunteering or donating to a worthy cause.

Play games.

It turns out that family game night contributes to social and emotional development! Children must interact with others, take turns, manage frustration, and solve difficulties while playing games. Also, they will observe how others react to winning or losing.

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