All of us need social-emotional skills to succeed in life. So, why not train your child from the very beginning. Having strong social-emotional skills help build self-confidence in children, makes them more self-aware, they are able to recognise and acknowledge their strengths and limitations, helps them coordinate and collaborate with others, enhances their problem-solving skills. 

Majority of times social-emotional learning gets ignored, and doesn’t get the same amount of attention as other skills like reading, writing, maths, history, science. While these skills are also important in life, however, it’s very essential that your child develops emotional intelligence as well. And social-emotional learning is the best way to build emotional intelligence in your child. If children are emotionally and mentally strong and healthy, they are better able to handle life’s challenges. Since, a lot of schools hardly talk about them, it becomes our duty as parents/caregivers/adults to discuss and talk about these things and consequently practice these skills. 

In this article, I’ll discuss 10 easy yet effective ways in which you can integrate social emotional learning in your child. 

  • Promote a growth mindset: A child having growth mindset beliefs that he/she can accomplish their goals through hard-work, persistence and good strategies. It is very important to let your child understand that his/her abilities, skills, attributes like intelligence, creativity can be developed, and can be worked upon. 

Try using growth mindset statements and praise, like 

    • Great effort! You must have worked really hard. 
    • Oh, so you find maths difficult? No problem, we will work hard, practice 5 sums daily and ask your friend to help!
    • You practiced a lot and your improvement shows it! 
  • Use self-reflection journaling: You can use journal prompts to help the child think about a variety of emotions. For example you can help build your child gratitude by asking them things like: I am thankful that these 3 things happened today or List 3 people you are thankful for. Ask them to name their super-strengths! (Which will help build self-confidence in them). After they write down these things, discuss with them, talk about your own experiences and validate them
  • Talk about managing emotions: It’s very crucial for people to manage their emotions effectively. You can help your child manage their emotions effectively from a very young age. You can discuss with them about managing emotions. Teach them strategies to manage their fear, anxiety, stress. Sit with them and make coping cards, where they write coping strategies for themselves when they feel angry
  • Encourage positive self-talk: Self-talk is the voice in our mind that continually speaks to us. It can be both negative and positive. And all of us know the value of a positive self-talk. A positive self-talk encourages us to try new things, motivates us to take on challenges and take risks. To encourage positive self-talk in your child, make them read aloud positive affirmations like: 

✓ I am enough.

✓ I believe in my goals and dreams. 

✓ I am capable of so much. 

  • Build problem solving skills: If your child faces a problem, or an obstacle, don’t right away solve their problem or help them out. Use the 10 minutes rule, where you as an adult would help them, but only when they think about the solution for the next 10 minutes on their own. You can also then sit with the child and then brainstorm ideas with them. Try to brainstorm, as this will help the child understand that there are numerous ways to solve a problem. 
  • Provide a daily check in: You can ask this in the morning or at a specific time, when you ask your child how is he/she feeling? What is the reason that they are feeling this way? Is there anything they can do to improve their current emotional state? Doing this will help the child become more self-aware, plus make them more in touch with their feelings, they’ll be able to recognise the cues behind their emotions and eventually understand how to manage their emotions. 
  • Create SMART goals: Creating SMART goals will give the child a sense of control. Urge them to make Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time based goals in the area of academics, co-curricular, skill building. Do a periodical check in about the progress, so that the child knows if the strategies and techniques are working or not. 
  • Help them build empathy: Empathy is a very important skill in today’s world. It’s important that your child is able to take in other people’s perspective and be considerate. Discuss empathy with them. Ask them how characters in storybooks, movies, cartoons are feeling. Ask them what they would be thinking, if they were in that situation as the character’s. This would help them to consider other people’s perspective. Try to have hard conversations and talk to them about biases. I have written a whole article on this, you can check it out. 
  • Teach them coping skills to manage stress: Even small children experience stress and it’s vital that we as adults teach them actual stress management strategies, that will help them when they feel anxious, overwhelmed or simply stressed out. Teach them grounding techniques, breathing exercises, teach them to seek social support from their friends and caregivers, to practice positive self-talk, think of something happy in that moment. 
  • Practice mindfulness: The world is full of uncertainty and that can be stressful. It’s important for them to teach mindfulness. You can teach your child mindfulness by teaching them breathing exercises, grounding techniques (like 5,4,3,2,1 grounding technique), by focusing on only one thing at a time. All this will help them, when they are stressed about a big test, a poem recital, or speaking in front of a big audience. 

These are some of the ways in which you can teach your child more about social-emotional learning. These are easy yet effective ways. And please don’t forget to make these things fun and exciting and never forget, you can always improvise!


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