4 Parenting Strategies to Help Reinforce Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) for Children

alphabet class conceptual cube
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If you have not heard of social and emotional learning (SEL), you most likely will soon.  School districts across the country have been adopting social and emotional learning into their curriculum, as it is an integral part of education and the development of kids.  According to CASEL’s framework of SEL, it is “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to 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 5 Competencies

Education is typically content driven as teacher tend to focus more on the subject they are teaching as opposed to focusing on skill building so that children are prepared to be successful and well-adjusted adults.  Although the teaching of content still exists and will continue to be taught in classrooms across the country, teachers are now being instructed to implement skill based teachings into their lessons.  The 5 competencies of CASEL’s SEL framework that are now being embedded in classroom lessons are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.  In addition to walking away with content knowledge, students are now developing skills including the ability to identify emotions, control impulses, manage stress, set goals, and strengthen communication, collaboration, and problem solving skills.  The thought behind this model is that kids will need these skills in life as much as if not more than the content they are being taught in school.  I could not agree more.

What you can do at home to reinforce SEL

  1. Model the 5 competencies at home for your kids.  Show your child that you are able to identify and manage your own emotions.  By using language that is explicit, articulate, and easy to understand, your children will develop more self-awareness, be able to identify their own emotions, and will have the language to communicate with you how they are feeling.
  2. Help your child develop healthy ways of coping with stress.  In today’s day, life is full of activities and rushing from obligation to obligation.  Children are getting burnt out as are you!  Take time for breaks and provide opportunities for you and your child to slow down, enjoy a moment, and breath.
  3. Children are often very egocentric and focused on themselves.  Help your child to be a bit more observant of what is going on around them and what their peers are thinking and feeling.  Teach them ways to express empathy and show kindness for others.  This will help them develop stronger social interactions and relationships.
  4. Parents often make decisions for kids that they think is in their best interests.  Rather than doing this, be a facilitator and walk your child through the process of making decisions.  Ask them to define the problem, come up with a few options, evaluate the pros, cons, and risks for each option, and then make a decision.  This will help your child develop stronger decision making skills.

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