Children of all ages require social-emotional skills to help them succeed in various areas of their education – skills such as recognising and managing emotions, being a good friend to peers, controlling impulses, communicating effectively, and working well with others.
At Boutique Education, we understand the importance of these skills to bolster a sense of independence, grasp strengths and weaknesses, participate with others, navigate social situations, develop meaningful relationships, as well as create more desirable choices. Therefore, we ensure social-emotional learning is part of their educational journey with us, but as parents, you can also foster these skills at home. Here are 10 suggestions for teachers in the classroom that can easily be adapted at home to help bolster your child’s social-emotional capabilities.
1. Using storytelling for teachable moments
Reading aloud is a fantastic tool for exploring social-emotional themes with your child. Storytelling isn’t just for younger students as most of us would think — there are a plethora of well-written books with complex storylines and vocabulary that older kids will love too. Here is a great list of 50 Must-Have Picture Books to Teach Social-Emotional Skills.
2. Nurturing a culture of kindness
(Source: Miss Education)
Kindness is both contagious and powerful. Studies have shown being kind boosts your serotonin, eases anxiety, and can lower blood pressure, which is really good for your heart. Nurturing this with your child helps create better human beings!
Do yourself a favour and read Have You Filled a Bucket Today? a story about the power of kind words. Then, create your own bucket at home. You and your children can write messages of kindness, appreciation, and love on the cards to fill up the bucket throughout the week. At the end of each week, spend a few minutes sharing these notes of encouragement to end the week on a positive note. Here are 21 Bucket Filler Ideas.
3. Practice lots of role-playing
Sometimes you have to put yourself in someone else’s shoes to fully understand a situation. Taking time to role-play tricky or troubling situations with your child helps develop empathy and understanding of other people’s feelings. For example, it’s a great strategy to use when discussing bullying. Print these free character role-playing cards
4 Build your child’s social-emotional vocabulary
Here’s a free poster, 8 Phrases That Nurture Growth Mindset, that we found that is supposed to be in a classroom, but you can also apply at home. It includes positive phrases they can use to foster their resilience and overcome failure.
5. Make space for reflective writing.
Put on quiet music. Dim the lights. Make writing time a calm, soothing break from the otherwise hectic nature of your child’s day. Encourage your child to write a journal and free-write. If they are reluctant, provide a menu of optional prompts. Here are 50 Creative Writing Prompts for Third Graders. Independent writing is an ideal activity for hybrid learning.
6. Set up a calm corner
Create a special place for your child to take a break when they are upset or angry or need to calm themselves. This space should have a peaceful atmosphere and might include comfy pillows to sit on, noise-cancelling headphones, journaling materials, calming images, and/or books about peace. This gives them a chance to reflect and introspect about their feelings and allows for social-emotional growth.
7. Talk time
Give your child opportunities to talk about a spectrum of subjects. Bouncing ideas off one another or figuring out problems with a bit of give-and-take will help them build understanding and confidence. When you feel the tension rising and your child is not making any headway with a particular piece of homework or problem, taking a five-minute chat break is a great way to hit the reset button. Here are 10 great techniques to try with your child.
8. Teach kids how to manage conflict with peer mediation
Peer mediation is a problem-solving process that helps children involved in a dispute meet in a private, safe, and confidential setting to work out problems with the help of a mediator. There are lots of programs out there—here’s one example.
9. Use anchor charts to teach social-emotional skills
Source: One Less Headache
You can create anchor charts with your child about many different topics, from “Owning Your Learning” to “What Does Respect Look Like?” and “Be a Problem-Solver.” Check out the WeAreTeachers Classroom Management Anchor Charts Pinterest board for many more ideas.
10. Encourage expression through art.
Source: The Imagination Box
Sometimes your child may think and feel things that they can’t quite put into words. Art is a great tool to allow them to explore topics from a different perspective. Get them to sketch your thoughts and feelings out as a prewriting activity or create a painting as an interpretation of a piece of music or poetry.
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