SEL for the Home

  • Families are children’s first teachers and essential to promoting social and emotional learning (SEL) throughout a child’s life. When educators and families work together, they can build strong connections with each other that reinforce social and emotional skills developed in the home, in schools, and in their communities. - CASEL

     

    For Families: SEL Practices That Continue the Work of Schools (by Leah Shafer)

    To build on the work of schools, families should think about social-emotional learning as an all-day idea — rather than as a strategy to manage a singular stressful behavior or situation. In the same way that a strong school-wide SEL program helps children develop key skills for many settings, families can use their everyday interactions to build critical competencies that will aid children throughout their day.

    1. Focus on your child’s strengths. Especially when it comes to academics, it can be tempting to focus on problem areas. First, though, ask your child what she thinks she did well. A focus on accomplishment can build self-efficacy and help children persist when things get difficult.
       
    2. Use visual aids to help your child plan. When something is new or hard for your child—completing homework, keeping his room clean—make visual reminders or step-by-step checklists that you can display prominently in your home. By showing children what they need to do to succeed, these practices also help children develop self-efficacy — and contribute to a sense of pride when goals are met.
       
    3. Ask about feelings. Together, talk about emotions—what it feels like to be frustrated, worried, or excited. The ability to identify and label negative emotions can grow self-awareness. Encouraging your child to use “I” statements — “I’m mad,” “I feel sad” — can help build self-control and communication skills, teaching her to pause and think when she’s upset.
       
    4. Stay calm when you’re angry. Learn to recognize your own “trigger situations” and talk about coping with anger as a family. Show your children how you calm down: i.e., “I’m feeling very upset, so I’m going to take a couple of deep breaths before we talk about this.” Modeling these cool-down strategies can help your kids develop self-control.
       
    5. Be willing to apologize. When you do get upset, or make a mistake, apologize to your kids. Explain what you meant to do or say. In these moments, you’re teaching social competence — that conflict is a normal part of life, and that it can be solved respectfully and calmly.
       
    6. Encourage helping and sharing. Regularly talk with your children about what others might need, and how you could be helping. Think about big and small ways that you can help — whether by taking out the trash for an elderly neighbor or by volunteering at a local food pantry or at your church, mosque, or temple. These acts build empathy, cooperation, and a community-oriented mindset.

    Read the full article: Family Engagement and SEL here.