How to Develop Emotional and Social Skills for Kids

The Developmental Impacts of Social-Emotional Learning For Kids

Every single parent, caretaker, and educator features the same underlying goal – to give their kids the best possible foundation to thrive within their developmental years and in the future as well-rounded adults. Now, there is no denying that there is a magnitude of things that can help them gain the necessary tools they need to excel in life. In fact, sports just so happens to be one of them! But if there is one thing for sure in the world of childhood development, social-emotional learning (aka SEL) is a rooted concept that encompasses several emotional and social skills for kids that can truly bolster their academic and life success.

What is Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)?

By definition, social-emotional learning is the rooted process that involves helping kids and young adults acquire and leverage an array of social/emotional skills and attitudes that position them to achieve personal and professional goals. It involves fostering empathy, self-awareness, and supporting kids on how to maintain solid relationships with others and with themselves. Overall, there are five keys to successful SEL, which include:

  • Self-Awareness – Understanding their own emotions, goals, strengths, and limitations.
  • Self-Management – Knowing how to regulate their emotions and behaviors. 
  • Social Awareness – Empathizing, understanding, respecting, and showing compassion for people around them. 
  • Relationship Skills – Building and maintaining healthy relationships.
  • Responsible Decision Making – Learning how to make responsible and rational decisions and constrictive choices.

When intertwining these areas together consistently, the benefits are quite extravagant and measurable. In the short term, you will notice your child being able to manage themselves better, have less emotional distress, grasp the perspectives of others, establish rewarding friendships, make sound choices, and do so while remaining positive throughout it all.

Even more, having greater emotional and social competence has substantial long-term benefits too. For instance, SEL has been linked to improving the likelihood of your child graduating high school, boosting their mental readiness for postsecondary education, increasing their chances of career success, lowering criminal behavior risks, and enticing them to become more community involved in their adult years.

How to Develop Emotional and Social Skills for Kids

There are many great ways you can help your child develop the necessary emotional and social skills they need to create a balanced life for themselves! Some of those ways include:

  • Start a Gratitude Journal: This exercise works wonders for improving self-awareness and self-management in both school and home settings. Getting kids started with this enables them to reflect on their lives, focus on the positive aspects of it, and encourages deeper thinking.
  • Stress Relieving Exercises: Kids get stressed and overwhelmed by life too. But helping them recognize when they are feeling this way or drained and knowing how to cope with it in a healthy way can make all the difference. For this one, work on mindful grounding methods, deep breathing exercises, stretches, and the concept of self-care so they can understand how to read their emotions and address them properly.
  • Draw Out Emotions: If your child is still too young to write out their emotions, have them draw it out! Allow them to draw out how they are feeling so they can express themselves and later reflect on it. This also works for the social aspect too, as you can have them draw the emotions of others using different colors that represent happy, sad, angry, etc.
  • Get Them Involved With Sports: Whatever sport your child shows interest in, have them try it out. Not only are sports great for physical exercise and forming friendships, but they can effectively improve coordination, strengthen team-building skills, and learn how to work through the many emotions that can come from winning and losing.

Summary – Set Your Child Up For Lifelong Success

In summary, social-emotional learning is a powerful agent within healthy childhood development and understanding how to develop social skills for kids can be the very thing that paves their way to cultivate a bright future for themselves. From emotional regulating, relationship building, positive thinking habits to making critical decisions, SEL is a proven cornerstone that sets children up to thrive in every aspect of their lives.

The best part is that though school schools tend to focus on social skills for kids, you can also amplify the impacts right at home as well. You can do this by emotional regulating exercises, practicing recognizing social cues, and growing both team and emotional self-awareness by getting them involved with sports designed for SEL advancement. All in all, social-emotional learning may be a dynamic part of your child’s life with many moving parts, but you best bet those little ones will thank you as they transform into prosperous, happy, connected, and emotionally healthy adults.

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