- Melanie Scott
Introducing Social-Emotional Learning to Your Child’s Everyday Life
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is an important aspect of any child’s education. It helps to shape them into empathetic, caring people who know how to connect with others and reflect upon themselves. It also plays a critical role in their academic career: it teaches self-management, decision-making and self-awareness. It may feel like your child is too young, too active or too busy to add another task into their daily lives. We are here to show you that SEL does not have to be a big job that requires lots of time and planning. It can be a simple activity that feels like play to both you and your child! Below we’ve rounded up some of our favorite approaches to easy and effective SEL.
The Feelings Chart
We know, it sounds corny. But starting your day by making a connection with your child teaches them how to be an empath and shows them the importance of checking in on each other.
Ask your child how they are feeling and what is making them feel that way. For younger or quieter children, you can make a feelings chart! Choose faces from their favorite cartoon, video game or novel characters that display a range of emotions. Ask your child to choose a character from this chart who they connect to today.
We have all heard the phrase “try walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” and we have all likely tried it, mentally. However, have you ever physically tried it? Ask your child to switch shoes with a friend or family member. Then, role-play each other to learn about how different perspectives, experiences and ways of thinking can affect our actions. Or, use role-play as a conflict-resolution tool. Give children a scenario in which something troublesome has happened, like a new classmate is being teased on the playground or they are assigned a partner at school who they do not like. These exercises help not only to develop empathy, but also to develop interpersonal skills in upsetting or uncomfortable situations.
Responsibilities and Teamwork
Giving your child small responsibilities around the house, in their own bedrooms or in their school classrooms is a great way to build their confidence, independence and give them some ownership. You may choose for them to sweep the floor after dinner, pick up toys after play time or back lunch into their backpacks for school. If you have multiple children, make it a team effort where they can all help each other complete their tasks! Working in teams encourages cooperation. It develops both leadership skills and a sense of belonging. Working through mutual struggles and celebrating common successes builds compassion and a connection between children.
Buddy up with an older “brother” or “sister”
Whether it be an actual brother or sister, another relative, a neighbor or a classmate, buddying up with an older kid makes children feel special. It gives them a role model outside of their parents who they can learn from, confide in and explore with. Direct this partnership towards specific goals by using any of the aforementioned techniques: ask the kids to check in on one another, help each other complete a task, or role play in an SEL-focused scenario. It is always surprising how easy it is for kids to find common ground, regardless of age differences!
Teach Them to Monitor their own progress
Teach your child to make goals for themselves and monitor their own progress. Make it a habit for them to self-check what they are accomplishing. You can provide a set of questions they can ask themselves, like “Have I met my goal?”, “What do I need to work on next?” or “Is there something I want to change about my goal?”. You can start with simple goals for young children, like doing one kind thing for a friend every day or sharing their toys. For an older child, practicing an instrument every day or trying a new sport could be a fun yet productive goal.
Finally, use story time as a tool! There are lots of children’s books that will build up your child’s social-emotional intelligence, but a great place to start is with the Lonely Unicorn. Follow his adventure as he searches for his family. This story focuses on empathy, tolerance, self-confidence and imagination. It is written in two languages so it is possible to challenge your child with higher level vocabulary in their second language, or make it easier by exploring the gorgeous illustrations and reading their native language. Not to mention, the bundle includes a bag for special treasures, audiobooks and even free games to boost emotional intelligence!
Find our special bundle by following the link below: