The Importance of Social-Emotional Learning During a Pandemic
COVID-19 has changed the lives of people across the planet, and unfortunately, our kids have been affected just as much as we have. The CDC notes that one area where children have really been challenged is social-emotional learning. They share that kids today may be experiencing negative impacts to their social and emotional skills and growth due to less time spent in schools and daycares with their classmates and teachers, next to no birthday parties and family gatherings, and even fewer trips to public places like the grocery store.
Our kids are seeing fewer and fewer people, and because of this, they are missing out on the opportunity to learn how to interact in each of these scenarios. Luckily, there are plenty of ways we can help kids grow their social-emotional skills from home — even during a pandemic.
What is Social-Emotional Learning?
It is clear that our little ones aren’t born knowing how to handle their big emotions, or even how to work well with others. Social-emotional learning is the process of learning these skills, and all skills that relate to emotions and social situations.
The current leader in this area of growth, The Collaboration for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, states that SEL grows self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.
In other words, these skills allow kids to better cope with common feelings, handle day-to-day challenges, build empathy-filled relationships, and make decisions. They truly help each child live an easier life as they grow from toddler to adult.
At-Home Activities That Grow Social-Emotional Skills
Public places may be some of the easiest spots to grow social-emotional skills, but this important learning can be done at home as well. Check out the activities below to find some fun ways to incorporate social-emotional learning into your days.
Host a Kindness Challenge
Part of social-emotional skills is recognizing the feelings of others, and knowing we have the power to affect them. Consider hosting a “Kindness Challenge” week with your child. Take out the calendar and work together to think of a random act of kindness you can complete each day. It’s sure to be a memorable (and education) experience for all involved.
In the game of Charades, we aren’t allowed to say a word. We rely on our facial expressions and body language to share what’s on our minds, and reading both of these types of actions is essential for strong social-emotional skills. Try out a game of Charades this week with your kids. If you’re looking for an added challenge, make all of the cards related to emotions — that’s sure to get the SEL skills growing.
Read, Read, Read (and Discuss)
Books tend to be filled with emotion because that is what keeps us interested page after page. Consider having a read-aloud each day with your child. When a social situation arises, pause, and discuss how you think you would handle the challenge at hand. It might not be real-life experience, but it is social-emotional learning, nonetheless.
Play a Board Game
Taking turns, listening to each other’s words, and discovering how to act in a positive way whether we win or lose; what could be better for social and emotional growth than a board game?
Check Out a Social-Emotional Toy
In today’s time, plenty of toys and games exist that can introduce these skills for you (or strengthen the areas you are already been working on at home). At Timeless Toys, we’ve got plenty of fun options to keep our kiddo growing in the social-emotional space.
Even though our children have spent much more time than normal at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they can still have excellent social skills. We just need to support their process in getting there. As you continue to help your child through these times, consider making social-emotional learning a priority. Their lives are sure to be positively affected because of it.