Social-emotional learning is a priority for us at STEMful. From the manner in which our staff approach guiding students through our programs to the environment we strive to create for the children who participate in our programs, social-emotional learning is a pillar of what we do. With parents’ help, children don’t have to stop learning social and emotional skills when they step out of our doors! Today we’re sharing five social-emotional learning tips that parents can use at home.

What is Social-Emotional Learning?

Social-emotional learning, also referred to as SEL, is a learning approach where children and adults develop self-awareness, emotional regulation, and interpersonal skills that prepare them for success in work, school, and life. With SEL, children learn necessary tools that address a variety of inequities in life. SEL empowers them to contribute to the safety and health of their communities.

At STEMful, we incorporate SEL into all of our programs’ curriculums through the CASEL 5 (SEL core competencies). The CASEL 5 are taught to children from preschool through high school and support their development of academic and professional skills for their overall success. The CASEL 5 are:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship skills
  • Responsible decision making

Throughout our various programming, our staff focuses on making the CASEL 5 an instrumental part of every child’s experience at STEMful.

Social-Emotional Learning Tips for Parents

1. Hold Family Meetings

At STEMful, one of our tactics for helping children develop social-emotional skills is to gather our class and program participants into a group sharing circle after a social-emotional learning activity focusing on one of the CASEL 5. Students are encouraged to talk about an appreciation, apology, or realization with the group. This allows them to share their thoughts and feelings in a safe space with one another. 

You can help your children gain the self-awareness and social awareness benefits of our STEMful activity circles by holding family meetings in your home. Family meetings are an opportunity for family members to talk about their day and experiences. Parents can encourage children to share their appreciation, apology, or realization about something that occurred in their day.

Family meetings help families communicate and discuss their feelings, but they also support the children in your family (and even the adults!) in building social and self-awareness skills.

2. Demonstrate Kindness For Others

Practicing kindness for others is essential for helping children to develop an appreciation for their situations and lives. Not only does practicing kindness build empathy, but it encourages gratitude and is positive for children’s physical and mental health

Seeing kindness in action carries much more weight than being told about kindness. Parents have an opportunity to show their children how to practice kindness by involving children in those acts at home. Several ways you might demonstrate kindness for your children at home include:

  • Have them help you create a greeting card for someone they know. 
  • Volunteer together as a family for a charitable organization.
  • Together, call or send a thank you card to someone you appreciate.
  • Show kindness in the way you speak to and communicate with your family members. 

3. Help Children Label Emotions and Express Them

One of the most straightforward social-emotional learning tips that parents can practice at home is checking in with their children about their feelings. Encouraging children to talk about their emotions and praising them for their attempts to do so lets children know that it’s good to share how they feel.

For small children, especially, who are still learning to recognize different emotions and feelings, you can try this activity to help them label, describe, and express their feelings. One way to do this is by creating an emotion book. Allocate a piece of paper for any given emotion, and with your child, fill the page with pictures or drawings of things that make them feel that emotion.

4. Model Active Listening at Home

Active listening is an important relationship-building skill for children and helps them learn to follow social norms. At STEMful, we encourage students to engage in active listening to build healthy and rewarding relationships with their peers. We do this in group activities, as well as in the circle-sharing activity mentioned previously.

One of the social-emotional learning tips parents can put to practice at home is to interact with their children through active listening. As you ask your children questions and invite them into conversation with you, make eye contact with them. Show them that you’re listening by nodding your head or saying things like “Really?” or “Uh-huh.”

Assure your children that you see and understand their feelings, concerns, or ideas. This will help them to feel understood, better understand their feelings, to develop self-compassion, and practice empathy for others.

5. Encourage Children’s Self-Esteem Development

Through the STEM-based curriculums in our STEMful programs and camps, children are encouraged to ask questions, make choices, and take responsibility for their actions. These opportunities help them develop self-esteem, which can contribute to their happiness, school performance, and ability to feel well-adjusted in their lives. 

Parents can create opportunities at home for their children to build self-esteem. Providing children with responsibilities like age-appropriate chores is empowering for them and positive for their self-esteem. Allowing them to choose what books to read or to pick an activity, gives them a feeling of power and autonomy in their young lives. 

Encouraging self-esteem-boosting activities at an early age helps children grow and develop into self-assured individuals.

Children Build Social-Emotional Learning Skills at STEMful

At STEMful, social-emotional learning is at the heart of our program, camp, and class curriculums. We believe that preparing children to be confident adults involves quality academic and social-emotional education! Visit our Programs page to learn about what’s coming up at STEMful and our various learning opportunities.