We all have feelings and emotions! It is part of what makes us human! Summer is a great opportunity for parents to continue working with their children on social and emotional skills. These skills are such a profound part of the overall school experience for our children. Kids today tend to struggle more with the social-emotional concepts in school: getting along with others, conflict resolution, distress tolerance, advocating for themselves, etc. than any other area. That’s why it is so important that we, the adults in their lives, role model these skills for them and give them the resources they need to overcome social hurdles.
Now that it’s summer, I wanted to encourage you to continue integrating social-emotional concepts throughout the day with your child. Summer is a great time to practice skills! Here are some excellent ways to do that:
Social-Emotional Concepts to Practice
- Start the day with a check-in: Start your day by welcoming your child to the day, ask them how they are feeling, praise them and encourage them, ask them to tell you something good and then make a plan for the day together!
- Use everyday experiences as teachable moments (stories are great opportunities for this as well). Talk about how various characters/people handle events in their lives including what they did well and what they could improve on.
- Give kids lots of opportunities to work in partnerships. Our kids learn from social interactions with their friends. Let them experience the highs and lows of friendship and walk them through the steps of resolving conflict (don’t solve problems for them!)
- Nurture a culture of kindness. Teach your kids to fill one another’s buckets by saying nice things, looking for the positive in everything, having gratitude, and being someone that other people want to be around. We teach our kids how to treat others by how we treat them. Remember that your kids are always watching you.
- Give them new words to say. Teach your kids an extensive emotional vocabulary and let them know that they have a right to feel what they are feeling. All feelings are okay. Teach your kids to advocate for themselves, talk about how they are feeling, and ask for help. Remind kids to use their words rather than behavior to get their needs met.
- Set up a calm place in your home. Teach children to take a break from situations that are overwhelming for them. Teach them to take a break in a calming place and take care of themselves before they address a situation that is upsetting to them.
- Allow for talk time. Kids need time to bounce ideas off of one another and the adults in their lives. They explore their thoughts and feelings through conversations with peers and safe adults. Encourage reflection on situations that happen and encourage them to think through other options for responding to any given situation.