What is social-emotional learning?
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines social-emotional learning (SEL) as:
“… 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.”
There are five core competencies of SEL:
- Responsible decision-making
- Social awareness
- Relationship Skills
Since all learning starts in the home, you can play a key role in developing your children’s social-emotional learning. This can be achieved through social-emotional learning activities, books or games, helping to build your children’s relationships and expanding upon the foundation of their future social-emotional health. You can work to model healthy social-emotional skills and start promoting them to your kids. By building this trusting and safe relationship their landscape for learning will keep them exploring and developing.
How to bring it into the home
Here are some ways you can bring SEL into your home.
- Spend time with them talking about what’s on their mind and what might be troubling them.
- Routines and the stability that they bring can reduce your child’s anxiety and help you with SEL. Routines including mealtimes and bedtimes create a safe and open space for your children. Try to stick to these routines as any significant change in routine can be a source of stress for children.
- What type of role model are you? Do your behaviours express how you would like your child to act? When building their confidence, try to show them that you are confident yourself and don’t allow them to witness you putting yourself down.
- The best way to build confidence is through positive reinforcement. If your child demonstrates kindness, cooperation, following the rules, or sharing, offer praise and support for these positive behaviours.
- A very important step in SEL is the expression of emotions. Encourage your child to express their emotion and tell you what’s wrong. You can help them to manage these emotions by asking them to express what is causing them, and then offering a solution to responding to those feelings.
- Teaching your child how to manage their emotions and cope with their feelings promotes healthy expressions and emotions. Together, you could practice a calming breathing exercise or another mindfulness activity to help them stay calm and in control.
- Offer encouragement to your child when you see them struggling with a task or situation, this will help them to believe in themselves and will build their self-esteem and sense of optimism.
Products that aid Social-Emotional Learning
These brightly coloured cubes help to develop social and emotional skills. The images and prompts will encourage your child to think about how they’re feeling and to talk about their emotions. Roll the emoji face cubes and see if your child can name the emotion. Roll the prompt cubes and encourage them to talk about how they’re feeling. You could even ask them to write it down, or draw a picture if they’re not comfortable talking.
These cubes can be a great way for your children to tell you what’s wrong if they’re reluctant to talk about it, just ask them to choose an emoji cube which best suits the situation. They also help your little ones to boost confidence, self-esteem and communication skills – which can be very important as your children grow.
Teaching your child how to start a conversation is a part of SEL. When they’re starting school, it can be a very stressful and scary time for them. They are in a new environment with people they don’t know, so knowing how to start a conversation will really help them to make friends and settle in a lot quicker. It’s an important part of communication too, so it will really help to push their confidence in socialising with the other children.
These conversation cubes are perfect for sparking discussions and starting up a conversation. They feature 36 questions about experiences and perspectives, including ‘What foods do you like?’ and ‘Do you have a pet?’ Use these to help build and develop oral language, social and listening skills.
Help your child to set goals for themselves and give them praise when they’re completed, this will build their confidence and make them more likely to succeed. Goals could include making new friends at school, doing something kind every day, or saying please and thank you more often.
The good job reward chart is perfect for setting goals and giving a reward once they have been completed. It is fully customisable, allowing you to select the tasks that you’d like your child to focus on. Alternatively, you could sit down with your child and discuss the goals they would like to set for themselves, this will help their ability to become independent and in control of their learning too. Track their performance with motivational tiles and store small toys and treats inside the reward box for when a goal is reached. This set also includes tiles perfect for positive reinforcement including ‘You were a good listener!’ and ‘You used good manners!’
Mirrors are a great resource for SEL as children can learn about emotions and facial expressions by looking at themselves. The All About Me Double Sided Mirror Boards are ideal for self-exploration and encouraging self-awareness. They feature a regular mirror on one side and a wipe-clean panel on the reverse for them to draw their faces with different emotions.
These mirrors are perfect for talking about mood and expression. Ask your child to practice making their ‘mad face’ or ‘happy face’ in the mirror so they can see what it looks like. This helps them to recognise feelings on other people’s faces and learn empathy.
Where is Howie’s Owie is a great way of developing body part awareness by using the fun bandage magnets to search for Howie’s Owie. The reverse side of the board features a write and wipe surface for labelling, which makes it perfect for teaching your child about parts of the body. It’s also great for building key fundamental skills for the future of their learning!
Use this game as a tool to talk about appropriate touch and personal space and it can also help to identify an injury or pain. If your child is upset and finding it difficult to tell you what’s wrong, you could use the board to encourage them to point to what hurts. This will help them to express their emotions and talk about them, it’s also important to allow your children to explore and develop independently, which will help to boost their confidence!
SEL in Schools
A lot of schools are integrating social-emotional learning into their classrooms to help continue the development of your child outside of the home. Talk to your child’s school about how SEL is important to your child’s needs and daily routines. See how they can get involved to help them learn important emotional lessons and navigate their environment more effectively.
For more information on SEL, take a look at these links:
Follow the hashtag #socialemotionallearning on Instagram