Help Your Child Succeed: 3 Ways to Encourage Social and Emotional Learning

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With the ever-evolving landscape of education, many parents have come to understand Social Emotional Learning (SEL) plays an essential role in their children’s development. SEL involves teaching children how to recognize and manage their own emotions, as well as interact successfully with others.

The importance of social and emotional learning in child rearing has been emphasized in recent research conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of KinderCare. Results revealed that an overwhelming majority of parents believe it is important to teach their children how to manage their emotions and how to treat others with respect. In addition, 83% consider kindness should be a primary focus when educating children, emphasizing the need for compassion and sensitivity in the way young people are taught. These findings highlight the shift in attitude among parents today when it comes to supporting their kids’ growth, as there is now an increased emphasis on social and emotional skills, mental health awareness and understanding differences.

Many view SEL as a core subject that should be taught alongside traditional academic subjects such as math and literature. As it helps foster healthy relationships and responsible decision-making, parents are demonstrating a newfound appreciation for the many benefits SEL can bring to their children’s lives both now and into adulthood. With improved outcomes in areas including academic success, mental and physical health, drug prevention, criminal activity prevention, and financial literacy, they’re optimistic SEL could potentially revolutionize the future of education.

3 Ways to Encourage Social and Emotional Learning in Children

social and emotional
© Weekned Images Inc / Getty Images Signature / Canva

As parents, we want what is best for our children. We want them to be happy and to succeed in life. A big part of that success comes from social and emotional learning. Social and emotional learning is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

The good news is that there are things that parents can do to encourage social and emotional learning in their children. Here are three ways:

1. Practice Emotional Literacy at Home

One way to encourage social and emotional learning is to practice emotional literacy at home. Emotional literacy is the ability to understand, express, and manage emotions. It’s important to model emotional literacy for children so they can learn how to do it themselves.

Some things you can do to practice emotional literacy at home include:

  • Naming emotions – When you name emotions for children, it helps them to understand and label their own emotions. For example, if your child is feeling angry, you could say something like, “I can see that you’re feeling really angry right now.”
  • Validating emotions – It’s important for children to know that their emotions are valid and that it’s okay to feel them. For example, you could say something like, “It sounds like you’re feeling scared because you don’t want to go to school today. That’s a really tough feeling but it’s okay to feel it.”
  • Managing emotions – Helping children to understand how to manage their emotions is also important. You could model this by talking about how you manage your own emotions or by teaching breathing exercises or other relaxation techniques.

2. Practice Mindfulness with a Relaxing Activity

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings without judgment. It’s a skill that can be learned and practiced just like any other skill. And it’s a skill that can be very helpful in managing difficult emotions.

There are lots of different ways that you can practice mindfulness with children. One way is to do a relaxing activity together such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation. There are also many books, apps, and websites that offer mindfulness activities for children of all ages.

3. Provide Unplugged Opportunities To Connect With Other Children

In today’s digital world, it’s easy for children to spend most of their time looking at screens instead of interacting with other people face-to-face. But social interaction is an important part of social and emotional learning. It gives children the opportunity to practice skills such as communication, cooperation, conflict resolution, etc.

Provide opportunities for your child to interact with other children in person through things like playdates, sports teams/activities, clubs/organizations, etc. And try to limit screen time as much as possible so that there is more time for face-to-face interactions.

Social and emotional learning is an important part of child development but it doesn’t always come naturally. As parents, we can help our children develop these skills by practicing emotional literacy at home, practicing mindfulness with a relaxing activity, and providing unplugged opportunities for them to connect with other kids. By doing these things, we can set our kids up for success both now and in the future.

To learn more about Social Emotional Learning, visit the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments website here.

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