5 Tips to Help Families Teach Social and Emotional Learning

More often than not, learning starts at home. Parents aspire to help their children become healthy, happy, and productive citizens, and many are recognizing the importance of social and emotional learning (SEL) in achieving these goals.

The best results occur when schools and families work together to create an SEL framework that extends beyond the classroom. Help parents foster their children’s social and emotional growth by sharing these tips for developing social and emotional skills at home.

Promote a Growth Mindset

How you talk about a child’s abilities can have a profound impact on his/her beliefs. Statements like “You are so smart. You were born to do this!” promote a fixed mindset. Children with a fixed mindset tend to believe abilities are innate or based on certain traits. By focusing on a child’s efforts in solving a problem, parents can promote a growth mindset. Saying something like “You worked so hard to solve that problem!” promotes a growth mindset where children understand that their hard work led them to success. This mindset helps create the desire to work hard in the future. Click here for more tips for parents for promoting a growth mindset at home.

Encourage Volunteering and Community Service

Research shows that children are better accepted by their peers when they engage in random acts of kindness. Volunteering and community service are terrific ways to increase intrinsic motivation through the reward of helping others, and these activities also help reduce self-centeredness. Encourage parents to get active with a volunteer project that they find meaningful and get their children involved. Whether it’s visiting a senior community, picking up trash at a neighborhood park, or volunteering at a local soup kitchen, service will help children develop healthy self-identities. Need more ideas to share with parents? Click here for examples of rewarding community services projects.

Create a Kind Identity

Parents can foster a kind and caring identity in their child by how they provide feedback. For example, instead of “I’m happy that you are being nice to your brother,” parents can say “I’m happy that you are such a kind brother (sister).” As a child’s self-identity emerges, parents can help make sure that kindness is naturally a part of it. 

Use a Data-Driven Action Plan

With the Aperture Education system, parents and educators can measure children’s social and emotional skills. And, the parent version is available in English and Spanish. Using our data reporting and SEL strategies, educators and parents alike can create a plan tailored to meet the social and emotional needs of each child.

Practice, Practice, Practice

It’s natural to want to step in and help a child avoid mistakes — that’s parental instinct. Yet, making mistakes is an important part of the learning process. Children need time and opportunities to practice social and emotional skills. Each time a child has to figure out a tough situation on his/her own, the child is making important strides forward in SEL. Sometimes it takes a poor decision — and living with the consequences of that decision — for the lesson to sink in. Of course, there are limits to set around a child’s actions (i.e. if they involve overly risky behavior). Parents should use judgment on how much leeway to give their children and always be there when they really need help.

Working together, parents and educators can build children’s social and emotional skills. Learning begins at home, and parents may be looking for guidance on how to teach SEL. Share these tips and strategies with parents and you will see the difference in student achievement! If you are interested in learning more about the Aperture system, contact us through the form below.

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