Life has not been easy for most parents who have school-aged children. It has been unpredictable for some parents, not knowing from day to day whether their child(ren) will be in a school building or learning remotely from home.
Just recently a friend of mine got word that her daycare had to close for two-weeks because of COVID, which meant both her child attending that daycare and her older school-aged child had to stay home from school and quarantine. Forced quickly into shifting gears, my friend arranged to work from home so she could look after her children.
Having to pivot on short notice is like a tornado for her. Just like my friend, many parents are, have, or may have to experience this same juggling act as well. More than ever, social and emotional skills are essential to the success of our children's future.
You might ask, what is social and emotional learning or SEL? According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL):
SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals.
As parents, we all do the best we can during uncertain times. Taking an active role to understand, practice, and reinforce social and emotional learning skills can help reduce emotional stress in children and lead to improved attitudes and behaviors.
SEL: CASEL's Five Core Competencies
Self-Awareness: Ability to understand one's emotions and thoughts and how they influence behavior.
Social Awareness: Ability to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others.
Self-Management: Ability to manage one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
Relationship Skills: Ability to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships
- Responsible Decision-Making: Ability to make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior a social interaction.
Tips for adding SEL core competencies into your family routine:
Be a role model: Our children watch our behavior. It's okay to feel stressed and overwhelmed but, make sure you are modeling good, responsive behavior for your children. Ways to do this are taking time out, practicing deep breathing or mindfulness, and talking a walk.
Plan or have a schedule: It is essential to have a plan A, B, C, and maybe a D. It is difficult to call upon people to help during these times, but having a few options helps prevent more uncertainty for your children. Plans help children feel safe.
Make a list: Demonstrate how having a "to-do" list helps with organization skills. Have your child make a to-do-list as well. This also helps when siblings are demonstrating that everyone has a list that needs to get accomplished.
Identify resources and support: Educationally apply technology along with support groups. There are many online support materials available for parents.
SEL Resources for Parents
Mobile Apps: Terrific Teachable Moments (TTM) is an activity-based teaching resource for iOS and Android designed to help kids of all ages develop emotional awareness and make positive character choices. This learning tool includes over 150 lessons for kids of all ages that take only about 10 minutes each to complete. Learn more at go.illinois.edu/TTMFamily:
- SEL Discussion Series for Parents and Caregivers PDF (Engligh)
- SEL Discussion Series for Parents and Caregivers PDF (Español)