For a little minute, close your eyes and consider a young person that you genuinely care about. Consider carefully what you eventually desire for this young child as you take a few deep breaths. It’s likely that when you dig deep into your dreams for this person, happiness and well-being are what you most want for them. We are realizing that this is what matters most all around the world, but how do we get there? With social and emotional learning, we can start (SEL).
Here are some steps you can take to promote social and emotional learning (SEL) at home:
- Model positive behavior: Children learn best by example, so make sure you’re modeling the kind of behavior you want to encourage in your child. For example, if you want your child to learn to regulate their emotions, you must demonstrate that yourself.
- Encourage empathy: Encourage your child to see things from others’ perspectives and to understand others’ emotions. You can do this by having conversations about others’ feelings and by reading books that highlight empathy.
- Foster positive relationships: Encourage your child to build positive relationships with others by teaching them communication skills, such as active listening, and helping them to understand the importance of being a good friend.
- Teach coping skills: Teach your child coping skills they can use when they’re feeling overwhelmed, such as deep breathing, visualization, and mindfulness.
- Provide opportunities for reflection: Encourage your child to think about their experiences and feelings, and to reflect on their actions and the impact they have on others.
- Celebrate successes: Recognize and celebrate your child’s efforts and successes, no matter how small they may be, to build their confidence and encourage them to continue developing their SEL skills.
To provide additional context, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as The process by which children, adolescents, and adults can acquire and apply the necessary knowledge and skills to understand and manage their emotions, feelings, and express empathy for others, set and achieve positive goals, and make ethical decisions. We all require these abilities to succeed. A cost-benefit analysis of SEL treatments revealed a favorable return on investment, with an average yield of $11 in long-term benefits for every $1 invested. A 20-year study also demonstrated a connection between kindergarten SEL training and well-being in early adulthood, while a 2011 meta-analysis discovered an academic success increase of 11%.
Even though SEL is being given more attention in classrooms and schools around the world, young people’s social and emotional development is greatly aided at home. Here are some crucial steps you can do to start SEL at home. Additionally, you can use the SEL lessons and activities on Education.com to formally teach your child SEL.
Together, Practice Mindfulness
The late, great Dr. Maya Angelou said that we constantly ask each other four crucial questions without even realizing it (Schafer, 2017):
- Could you see me?
- Are you bothered by my presence?
- Do you think I’m good enough for you, or do you think I could be better?
- Can I tell that you hold me in high regard from the way you look at me?
We would have to be fully present and available to our children before answering any inquiries they might have. The best gift we can give our children as parents is our presence. Offering our complete presence, however, becomes a rare occurrence when we are faced with so many demands on our time.
Being present and pushing ourselves to be there for our kids are both benefits of practicing mindfulness. Putting it into practice while utilizing a number of the Education.com activities can be a fun way to interact with your child while also developing your SEL abilities. Select a mindfulness exercise from Education.com to try out first. Options range from using a bell to strolling mindfully. Alternatively, try inhaling deeply each time you hug your child so that you may both feel each other’s embrace and the gratitude you both feel for one another.
Use a Restorative Strategy
Restorative Practices (RP), a crucial component of many effective SEL projects, are particular techniques drawn from indigenous beliefs that foster community, address injury or conflict, and create networks of support for community members. These techniques employ a structure that encourages interdependence while attempting to foster collectivist beliefs.
By using a restorative approach at home, we may stop “blaming and shaming to relate” while still holding our kids accountable for their actions. Ask your child these six questions the following time there is an “event” in your home:
What took place?
What was going through your mind at the time?
What have you been thinking since then?
Who has been impacted by your actions?
What impact have they had on them?
What steps do you believe you should take to put things right?
These polite inquiries ask your child to consider the past, present, and future. They also assist your child in growing their agency while helping them take responsibility for the effects of their actions. If “What happened? ” is the response to the question,” “I don’t know,” try rephrasing it as “Tell me what you think your part in the incident was.” Never question someone, “Why did you do that?” If you have been cruel to your child, you may also use these questions; showing them how you do so can be a powerful way to teach SEL at home.
Consider your advantages
Emphasizing your family’s strengths is another excellent way to practice SEL at home. Every night at dinner, ask each member of the family to identify a strength they have noticed in a family member over the previous 24 hours. When describing your strengths, be explicit. By highlighting how your family supports one another and collaborates as a unit, you may go one step further and put more emphasis on your family’s strengths. Focusing on our abilities causes our brains to relax, which fosters creativity, among other positive effects. Dopamine is also released, and it has several advantages, including boosting our happiness and sharpening our focus.
Adults are where SEL begins.
Children have never been very successful at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to copy them, according to James Baldwin. SEL begins with adults, and one of the most effective ways we can teach it to children is by practicing it ourselves. When we fly, we are reminded to always put our oxygen masks on first before helping our kids in case of emergency. Similarly to this, we must first work on developing SEL inside ourselves before we can successfully introduce SEL into the household. Start small, discover which of the suggestions in this blog post speak to you, then pick one to use regularly.
Here are some references for social and emotional learning (SEL):
- Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL): CASEL is a leading organization dedicated to advancing SEL in schools and communities. They provide research, resources, and tools to support the implementation of SEL programs.
- The Whole Child Initiative: The Whole Child Initiative, led by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), is a comprehensive approach to education that focuses on the development of the whole child, including their social and emotional well-being.
- The SEL Literature Review: This literature review, conducted by CASEL, provides an overview of the research on SEL, including the benefits of SEL programs and the most effective practices for implementation.
- The SEL Standards: The SEL Standards, developed by CASEL, provide a framework for SEL that outlines the skills and competencies that students should develop.
- SEL Research: There is a growing body of research on SEL, including studies that have examined the effectiveness of SEL programs and the impact of SEL on student outcomes, such as academic achievement and well-being.
These references can provide a starting point for further exploration of SEL and can help you understand the importance of SEL in promoting the well-being and success of children and youth.