How to use Social–Emotional Development to Help Students Transition After the Pandemic
Why is supporting children with social–emotional development important?
Social Emotional involves socialization, or learning the values and behaviors accepted by society. It also involves becoming a confident and competent person. To do this, children need to learn how to understand their own and others’ feelings, regulate and express their emotions appropriately, build relationships with others, and interact in groups.
What You Can Do at Home
Help your child to manage his or her own emotions and behaviors by talking about his or her emotions. Being able to name and describe strong feelings is an important part of self-regulation. Offer emotion words like frustrated, angry, disappointed, or nervous to more accurately capture your child’s feelings. As you read stories, talk about the characters’ emotions. Talk about why a character feels a certain way and the facial expressions or gestures to recognize others’ feelings.
Other strategies for regulating emotions and behaviors:
- Establish and practice consistent daily routines. A visual reminder showing the steps in common routines might be helpful. For example, a visual for getting ready for bed might include drawings or pictures of putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, selecting a story to read, getting in bed, and getting a good-night kiss.
- Explain the reasons for rules and expectations, and help your child understand why particular behaviors are not acceptable. For example you might say, “Be kind to others.”
- Encourage your child to take care of his or her own needs. For example, invite him or her to help clear his or her plate and utensils after meals, or independently dress for bed. Acknowledge his or her efforts and offer support as needed.
Support your child’s ability to establish positive relationships and participate with others by trying some of these ideas:
• Read books about friendships, particularly stories that show how friends treat one another and the things they do for each other.
• Coach your child on how to enter groups. Model how to ask questions, make positive comments, and offer help. Try role-playing scenarios so your child has a chance to practice these new skills. Demonstrate how to offer trades, take turns, share, and engage in conversation.
• Use role-play scenarios to practice conflict resolution. Help your child think about the sequence of events that led to the conflict and talk about possible solutions.
Social–emotional competence is essential to your child’s well-being and his or her success in school and throughout his or her life. We know that a child who is socially and emotionally ready for school is:
- Confident, friendly, and able to develop good relationships with peers
- Able to concentrate on and persist at challenging tasks
- Able to communicate frustration, anger, and joy effectively
- Able to listen to instructions and be attentive
It is your close relationship with your child that will help develop these important skills. Encouraging your child’s social–emotional development through warm and loving interactions not only brings you closer to your child, it helps your child build skills that have been found to predict successful kindergarten transition, early school success, and even later accomplishments in life.
We would like to express our sincerest appreciation to our parents, guardians, and caretakers for your incredible patience and flexibility as we conclude the 2020-2021 school year. We understand the responsibility and challenges that this year placed on parents, guardians, and students as you had to create time, space, routine, and support for learning at home. We honor all of you and your acts of generosity and kindness, patience and resilience to work through this global crisis together.