It’s a crucial yet understandably stressful task to sustain your child’s education while they’ve been at home. So, we have compiled some simple strategies for supporting social emotional learning that are easy and accessible.
What is SEL?
Over two decades, social emotional learning (SEL) has grown to become an essential part of education. It’s garnered a reputation as a well researched framework that has a real impact on student success. Moreover, students who master the five competencies of SEL perform better academically, have reduced stress and depression, and an improved attitude toward school.
Keep reading for our tips to implement social emotional learning in each of the five competencies while at home.
Successfully learning self awareness means a student can recognize how their actions and emotions influence their behavior. In addition, they have a healthy sense of self and are inwardly motivated. Students need self awareness so that they have a positive self image and are equipped to work toward their goals. Here are some self awareness strategies for social emotional learning at home:
- Encourage them to journal. Journaling is a great way for your child to practice mindfulness and reflect on their emotions. Acknowledging their feelings are an important first step to understanding their emotions and developing their self awareness.
- Start a habit tracker. Similar to journaling, noticing behaviors and habits is the foundation for change. Habit tracking helps your child understand how they spend their time and review what habits keep them from their goals.
- Utilize positive affirmations. Giving your child positive feedback helps them to grow healthy self esteem. Also, practice personal affirmations with your child so they can learn positive self talk.
The self management component of SEL means a student can manage their emotions, behaviors, impulses, and their stress. The student is not only aware of their emotions and habits but they can also manage them and make improvements that lead to their personal success. This is essential for students to grow into their independence and self-sufficiency. Try these tips to help yours develop self management skills:
- Implement breathing exercises. Breathing exercises are a grounding technique that relieves anxiety and re-establishes calm. Life can be overwhelming so give your child a simple tool to help them cope with their stress. An easy “in for 4 out for 8” breathing exercise goes a long way to teach self management.
- Give them a retreat. Everyone needs some quiet alone time to retreat to and reflect. Set aside a place for your child to fall back on when they are overwhelmed or are experiencing strong negative emotions. Whether that be their bedroom or a quiet corner of the living room, a little bit of peace will help them diffuse their feelings in a positive way.
- Use their school planner. Encourage your child to use their school planner to organize their tasks. School planners help students develop important time-management and goal-setting skills. With their planner, your child will be able to make smart decisions about how to spend their time that will lead them to their personal and academic goals.
The social awareness aspect of social emotional learning means a student can recognize another’s perspective and empathize with them. They can acknowledge and appreciate the differences of those around them. Cultivating social awareness is crucial to your child developing a healthy sense of empathy which leads to compassion and ethical decision-making. Encouraging your child’s growth in social awareness is instrumental in them becoming successful in the future. Here are a few tips to help increase your child’s social awareness:
- Share your stories. You are a huge influence to your child’s development so your experiences and perspective are a great resource to help them learn social awareness. Tell stories about your life and be sure to explain what you were thinking, your emotions, how you affected your peers, and any other reflections.
- Work together on a teacher thank you. Come up with a project that you and your child can work on as a thank you to their teacher. This school year has been tumultuous and teachers have gone above and beyond to continue educating their students. Thanking them for their dedication is important and it will help your child understand and empathize with their teacher.
- Be an example. Your child learns a lot from your behavior so, by being an example with your social interactions, it will teach them social awareness. Acting with compassion and understanding toward others will show your child how to treat people with respect and kindness.
Successful development of relationship skills means a student has the ability to build enriched and healthy relationships with others. They can actively listen, effectively communicate, and navigate through conflicts. Knowing how to make connections and develop healthy relationships is key since relationships are instrumental to our sense of belonging and overall well-being. Helping your child learn valuable relationship skills will set them up for a fulfilled future. Try these SEL strategies to aid your child’s development of relationship skills:
- Check in and ask questions. Taking a moment to check in with your child and see how they are doing deepens trust and shows them you care. Asking questions that reflect a genuine curiosity about their thoughts and interests brings you closer together while also modeling how healthy relationships function.
- Give them your full attention. Block out time each day to give your child your full and undivided attention. Let them take the lead on the conversation or activity and be engaged with them. This will encourage your child to reciprocate the same level of attentiveness and care with you and with others.
- Take their feelings seriously. Don’t brush off their emotions, even if the situation seems small. It’s important for children to learn how to share their emotions and ask for what they need so take them seriously when they reach out to you.
A student succeeds at responsible decision-making when they are able to assess a situation, make an educated decision that directs them toward their goals, and review the outcome of their choice. Responsible decision-making is an important part of growing up and developing into a successful adult. As they grow, your child will be faced with many choices so learning how to make responsible decisions will give them the tools they need to reach their goals and manage their life. Use these responsible decision-making strategies for SEL while at home:
- Give them a job. Ask your child to help out around the house by giving them an age-appropriate job to do and give them rewards for keeping up with these tasks. This will help your child learn to make smart choices around completing their obligations and managing their time responsibly.
- Establish a routine. Structure is important to keep up with daily life and enforce healthy habits. Establishing a routine with your child makes it easier for them to make responsible decisions because they have a process to follow and healthy habits built in.
- Let them make their own choices. Practice makes perfect so your child will need to have opportunities to make their own decisions in order to grow their decision-making skills. You can start with small things, like what afternoon snack they want or what to play on family game night, and slowly build up to bigger decisions as they get older.
You can utilize these strategies to help your child develop the key skills of social emotional learning while staying at home. Finding teachable moments and seamlessly integrating SEL in the everyday makes the task of sustaining your child’s learning at home more manageable and effective.