Social and Emotional Skill Building

With the start of the school year upon on us many parents begin to shift focus towards best supporting their child’s academic achievement. Social and emotional skills play a fundamental role in academic outcomes, as well as promoting positive behaviors and  mental health. The following are some tips for parents to engage in this learning process. The good news is that our schools are already heavily invested in social and emotional learning. The best news? Lifelong outcomes to promote educational success while reducing problems associated with substance use, criminal activity, and mental health.
By helping kids manage their emotions we are preparing them to learn. We can help by acknowledging their emotions and then finding ways to increase their emotional literacy and feelings of self-control by having them name their emotions. Then we can model empathy by putting ourselves in their shoes, validating their feelings, and not jumping in to rescue them. As much as we want to protect our kids don’t we really want to send the message that they are able to solve their own problems? That we trust them and they can trust themselves.
By acting as consultants, we can unpack our own conflicts by taking responsibility for our emotions, teaching the valuable lesson that only one person is responsible for how we feel and how we handle those feelings. By sharing our own calming strategies (deep breathing, counting, taking a break to cool off before returning to the problem, etc.) we are not only modeling the process, but that we are actively identifying our own patterns so that we can grow too.
Whether we are trying to instill self-regulation, improve attention and focus, or cultivate problem solving strategies, the basis of social and emotional development is in trusting relationships. The Hirschfield Center for Children can help families foster relationships built from a place of worthiness – from there the possibilities are endless.