5 Ways to Support Families During Winter Break with SEL

Winter is the most magical of seasons. Between frosty days, winter break, and the holidays, it can be a joyous time. But it also can bring stress, loneliness, and unhappiness for some. 

There are many reasons students may not enjoy winter break. For example: 

  • School may be the one place where they find structure, consistency, and stability.
  • Many students depend on the caring and trusting relationships they have in school. 
  • A change in routine can cause some students stress and anxiety.
  • Students who don’t celebrate holidays during winter break may feel “othered” or left out. 

One way you can support your students during winter break is by encouraging families to practice social and emotional learning (SEL) while they are home for the holidays. Here’s how: 

1. Help families understand the importance of SEL. 

Make sure your students’ families know what SEL is and why it’s important. Let parents know that SEL can help students:

  • Stay focused and engaged in learning
  • Work through emotions like stress, fear, and anxiety
  • Remain connected with educators and peers
  • Achieve academic success

Direct families to our SEL FAQ to help them learn more.

2. Share SEL resources families can use at home. 

A great resource for families to learn about SEL and start building their children’s social-emotional skills is our Parent Portal. We’ve recently refreshed this portal to make it even easier for parents to access resources such as:

  • SEL basics
  • Informal conversation scripts about SEL
  • A description of the importance of collecting students’ SEL data
  • Free SEL Growth Strategies

3. Help families find ways to de-stress.

Nearly everyone feels increased stress around the holidays. Here are some helpful tips, activities, and resources that will help students — along with their parents and families — reduce stress and anxiety tied to the winter season. 

4. Invite families to participate in a Winter Break SEL Challenge.

To encourage families to get involved in practicing social-emotional skills at home, we’ve created a Winter Break SEL Challenge that can be emailed to families before school lets out. Encourage students and their families to complete as many SEL activities as they can. 

5. Use Aperture Education’s free Growth Strategies.

Another resource you can share with parents and families before winter break are these free Growth Strategies. These resources are easy-to-use and will help students improve their social-emotional skills. 

Grades K-2: Goal Directed Behavior: Working to Make Dreams Come True! 

Grades 3-5: Optimistic Thinking: Home Connection: Encouragement Folders 

Grades 6-8: Relationship Skills: Teacher: Relationship Skills Goals

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.

We hope these SEL resources make the winter break more merry and bright for your students and their families!

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