Parent Moment of Empowerment: Social-Emotional Learning

We all know that supporting our scholars with their social and emotional wellness is critical to their overall success in life. We can’t expect them to process information when they’re distracted, stressed, tired, or feel unsafe. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) strengthens us as individuals to be prepared for life when it shows up at our front door. But it’s only when put into practice and build our skills of self-awareness, self-control, social awareness, relationship management, and healthy decision making that we’ll be better equipped to navigate stressors, anxieties, and challenging situations.

Wondering how to make this happen? Practice, practice, practice! In the same way that we train our bodies and brains to become really good at something, that’s how we can train ourselves and coach our scholars to identify, express, and manage their own emotions.  By consistently doing so, we will position ourselves and empower our scholars in a way to better navigate those life stressors and or de-escalate conflicts. Here are some tips to practice SEL at home.

Establish routines. Create a daily routine with you and your scholar to stick to. Establish intentional time and structure for social-emotional learning such as meditating, reading books together, sharing about your day, etc.

Recite daily affirmations. When we affirm the things that we know, they help us to move in a positive direction. Remind yourself on a daily basis how amazing you are by starting your day with positive affirmations.

Create an attitude of gratitude. Sometimes it’s hard to see the good things that are happening in our lives, so be intentional about looking for the positive things surrounding us. This week, make a list of things you are grateful for and share it with a friend and watch your attitude grow with gratitude.

Help your scholar express and name emotions. This helps scholars understand what it is that they’re feeling. If scholars are struggling to identify their feelings, suggest they express them through drawing, a facial expression, or a movement in their body. Older scholars can try journal prompts like, “If I were a weather reporter and my feelings were the weather, it would be _____ today.” They may be able to describe a cloudy, gloomy day but not have the emotional vocabulary to specify their feelings.

With these tips, you and your scholar can practice SEL every day. Building important habits takes practice, and just as you brush your teeth every day, scholars and adults need daily opportunities to identify, express and manage their emotions.