Developing the social and emotional skills of children is a critical way to ensure that they grow up into healthy, well-adjusted adults. Many schools are now integrating social and emotional learning into their lesson plans. Parents also play a role in promoting SEL! Here are six suggestions for ways that parents can promote social and emotional learning over the summer break.
Six Suggested Ideas to Promote Social and Emotional Learning
- Visit a local library and read a book with a SEL component. You can use stories that you read with your children to help them understand SEL concepts in action. Let your child choose a book from a list like this then sit down and read it together. Make sure you discuss the motivations and actions of the characters.
- Create cooperative learning games that your child can play with siblings or friends. Playing games among peers with a cooperative goal is a great way to reinforce SEL concepts like understanding and patience. Some great examples of these games include “Cross the River” or “Human Knot.”
- Set a goal for the summer and help your child keep track of it. Agree on an age-appropriate summer goal with your child and help them track their progress. For example, your child may set a goal of being able to read thirty new words by the end of the summer. Help them create a graph to track their progress to reinforce concepts like determination and help children learn to deal with emotions like frustration.
- Start a summer journal. Buy some cheap notebooks for your child and encourage them to keep a journal of their thoughts and feelings over the summer. Whether they choose to draw pictures or free-write, journaling can help children keep sense of their thoughts and feelings and express them in a healthy manner.
- Create chore lists for each week of summer break. Age-appropriate chores can teach children responsibility and the importance of follow through. Parents can change which chores their child is responsible for from week to week while keeping the routine constant.
- Check-in with your child’s feelings. Simply asking “how are you feeling?” every day shows your children that their emotions matter and that you. This also helps children learn to label their emotions and learn to deal with them in an appropriate way.
Integrating social and emotional learning concepts into your child’s summer break is a great way for parents to reinforce the concepts children are already learning at school. The more time that parents dedicate to these concepts, the better equipped children will be for a future full of learning! For more information on social and emotional learning, visit CASEL.org.