Dear Berry Patch Families,
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a hot topic in education today. SEL is a process of developing and applying skills to self-regulate emotions, empathize with others, set and attain goals, form and retain friendships, and make responsible decisions. Learning to self-regulate is a skill for life.
As parents and teachers, we can promote SEL in young children through self-awareness strategies. Focusing on the wellbeing and social growth guides children in relating to others’ perspectives. Skill building tools to connect feelings, needs, and actions equip children to create healthy connections with other adults and children. Being able to express and manage emotions is one of the greatest predictors of later academic and social success.
Four Tips to Develop Self-Regulation Skills in Young Children
- Tune in to your child (verbal and non-verbal communication).
- Name and validate feelings using emotional vocabulary including words that express a wide variety of emotions (frustrated, confused, generous, impatient, overwhelmed, content, etc.). Help your child recognize and name underlying feelings.
- Help children understand that feelings are responses. Teaching children about cause and effect will assist in understanding feelings are reactions. And feelings can change. After identifying an emotion, follow up with, “How can I help you?” This response aids the child in determining what is needed to make the situation better.
- Most children’s books provide a variety of emotions. When reading, ask your child to identify how the character is feeling and what is needed to improve the situation.
Kindness is the goal. Empathy, compassion, and respect for others are relationship builders. We want our children to have good friends and be a good friend. We can help children learn positive relational skills by being good role models and assisting them in regulating emotions and responses.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Becky Danielson, M.Ed.
Licensed Parent & Family Educator