What are Self-Management Skills in SEL?

Self-Management is one of the social and emotional competencies the DESSA measures. This CASEL-aligned competency looks at a student’s success in controlling their emotions and behaviors to complete a task or succeed in a new or challenging situation. Self-Management skills are important both during childhood and as an adult. Developing this skill leads to success in setting and reaching goals. When we know what motivates us or, on the flip side, what drains us, we can plan accordingly to set ourselves up to accomplish tasks. Having the agency to work toward things we are passionate about while still being able to overcome obstacles and challenges are signs of strong Self-Management skills. 

SEL Self-Management Activities 

Looking for Self-Management SEL activities to incorporate into your classroom? Here are some K-12 strategies you can use to promote Self-Management. These quick and easy activities build this skill so students get a better understanding of identifying and regulating their feelings to achieve their goals. 

Self-Management Skills For Elementary School Students 

Let’s get up and get moving! While there are times we need to sit and focus, other times it’s beneficial to incorporate movement to help students get out their extra energy— and this extra energy can be used in productive ways! For younger grade levels, students spend five minutes pretending to be active animals. You can have them jump like a kangaroo, stomp around like a dinosaur, or prance like a pony. Do this a few times throughout the day when you see students need a brain break. 

Older elementary students may be looking for something a little more grown-up but still fun. There are a handful of video playlists for brain breaks including dance challenges and trivia. You can also find a yoga video or mindfulness breathing video as you wind down brain break time. This calmer content can help students as they self-regulate and get back to their independent work or group work. 

Self-Management Skills For Middle School Students 

At the middle school level, focus on SEL Self-Management activities that align with their interests. Many middle school students love music. Music can heighten our mood and help us get fired up to take on a challenge. Encourage middle schoolers to create a playlist of music that they find energizing or inspiring. Afterward, you could encourage students to share their playlists with you. As they work on projects or assignments in class, cycle through their energizing playlists. When you’re ready to get the students’ attention toward the end of class you could switch to a calming or relaxing playlist to signal to students that the class period is almost up. A ritual like this also helps students establish a routine for how they can expect their learning within the classroom to unfold, further promoting Self-Management. 

Self-Management Skills For High School Students 

Many professional athletes and entertainers have “pre-performance success rituals” that they go through to get ready for a big game or concert. They might listen to the same music, eat the same food, or practice their breathing. 

A good success ritual for high school students is to picture in their minds their past successes. Encourage students to think about specific times when they performed well and achieved their goals. Visualization involves using mental imagery to lower stress. Creating a “pre-performance success ritual” that involves envisioning past successes can give students the energy and the confidence to take on their current challenges. 

Future Readiness with Self-Management 

When we build up our students’ Self-Management skills, we set them up for long-lasting success in the future. Self-Management shows up in many ways in adulthood. It’s seen by arriving at college or work organized and prepared to take on the day. It’s also displayed when an individual shows emotional impulse control even when things aren’t going their way. 

Even those who have strong Self-Management skills may struggle from time to time. However, individuals with strength in the skill of Self-Management are able to show vulnerability, ask for forgiveness, and take the opportunity to learn and grow from the situation.

That’s what social and emotional skill development during K-12 is all about! Equipping students with the skills they need to succeed while in school and beyond. 

Ready to Get Started? 

Let’s continue your SEL journey! Fill out the form below to be in touch with a member of our Partnership team to learn more about all the competencies the DESSA assesses and how the Aperture System progress monitors those skills. 

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