With the time off for the holidays creeping closer, I want to talk about ideas to continue building your child’s Social Emotional Learning skills (SEL) at home. SELs are getting a lot of attention in the education field. Often, parents don’t know what they can do to continuously build their child’s skills to better develop their social and emotional intelligence.
Tips to help early elementary kids develop SEL skills at home:
Teach your child about the different emotions: Explain the difference between frustrated, mad, sad, jealous, happy, excited, and tired. By exploring more emotions, children can explore how the emotions make them feel and behave. Awareness is the first step to learning to better manage behaviors. I would recommend using figurines or cue cards to help with identifying emotions. There are also a few apps that you can additionally purchase. Find what works for you and is easily accessible. Get your acting hat on and play “Show Me That Emotion”! Ask your child to show or act out what sad, mad, and happy look like. If your children are older, use more advanced emotions like shame or envy and body language to express them.
Use deep breathing at home: When you get upset, start modeling deep breathing to calm you down. It truly works and it’s a great coping skill to teach your child. Overtime, practicing this strategy will work and your child will start to mimic you. This technique will get them to take a moment to refocus and the added oxygen from the deep breaths will calm them down. Deep breathing is so underutilized, but it can really help with controlling anger and impulses.
Have daily talk times: Find a moment of time in the day: in the morning before school, in the evening after dinner, or right before bed to have one on one time with your child. Use that time to find out about their likes and dislikes, friends, and about their day. Spend time learning about their world, but don’t forget to share what you love about them. It is about giving them examples, so that children can look back into their memory bank and see that they truly have positive qualities.