Last year made clear that social and emotional skills are crucial for success — for students and their families.
Families felt the burden of helping their children learn through remote and hybrid learning, all while juggling work and managing their daily routines. Social and emotional learning (SEL) helped many students and families push through a difficult time and helped with things like stress management, goal-setting, and developing relationship skills.
This year presents an opportunity to increase family involvement in your SEL program. Below are three ways parents and caregivers can start building students’ social and emotional skills at home.
1. Encourage parents to promote a growth mindset.
Help parents and caregivers understand that how we talk about students’ abilities can have a profound impact on their beliefs. Statements like “You are so smart.” or “You were born to do this!” promote a fixed mindset. Explain that children with a fixed mindset tend to believe abilities are something they were born with or without.
A growth mindset, on the other hand, helps students know they can increase their abilities through hard work, and it helps create the desire to do so. Let parents know they can promote a growth mindset by focusing on their children’s efforts in solving a problem or working toward a goal. They may say something like “You worked so hard to solve that problem!” or “You don’t understand yet but just need some more practice.”
Share this handy chart with parents to provide additional tips on language that promotes a growth mindset.
2. Help families find ways to de-stress.
Parents and families are especially stressed right now. Explain that effective stress management skills can be taught, and benefits include improved quality of life, mental and physical health, and self-esteem. Share resources with parents and caregivers on how they and their children can de-stress.
3. Practice, practice, practice.
Explain to families that just like learning a math or reading concept, children need time and opportunities to practice social and emotional skills. Encourage caregivers to provide many opportunities for their children to practice SEL and remind them that making mistakes is an important part of the learning process and can be opportunities for growth.
Families are an integral part of student learning. When schools and families work together to create an SEL framework that extends beyond the classroom, big things can happen. Help parents foster their children’s social and emotional growth by sharing these tips for developing social and emotional skills at home.
SEL Resource to Share with Families
We created a helpful resource to help you get parents and caregivers involved in teaching SEL at home. This letter can be downloaded and shared with families and includes:
- A description of SEL and why it is important
- 3 easy ways families can get started teaching SEL at home
- 3 free SEL activities parents can use to teach SEL to their children
Download and email this letter to families to help them start teaching SEL at home.