So now we have understood the importance of social and emotional learning to help raise happy, relatively problem free and adjusted children as adults.
We understand that parents have a very important role to play in this regard and it would help if the parents and schools work in collaboration to achieve the same.
There are some things that parents can do at home for developing social and emotional learning:
- Focus on Strengths– Have you noticed, how often we are critical of our children, focusing on what they did wrong, rather than praising them for their small achievements? When your child brings home a test, talk first about what he or she did well, then talk about what can be improved. Praise their specific strengths.
- Follow up with consequences for misbehavior– We often threaten the child when they misbehave with no intention of actually reprimanding them. When we say “No television for a month” or “I shall never talk to you”, both parents and children know that this is not going to happen. Therefore, decide on consequences which are fair and carry them out.
- Ask children how they feel– When you ask your child about his or her feelings, the message you impart is that their feelings matter and you care about it.
- Find ways to stay calm when angry– It is normal and natural to sometimes lose your temper and get angry or irritated. But one must learn to recognize their triggers and should do something about it before it gets worse. Try taking a few deep breaths, counting backward. Sit down as a family and talk about what everyone can do to stay calm.
- Avoid mocking or humiliating your child– This can have a deep impact on the self-esteem of the child, make them feel bad about themselves. It may lead to lack of self-confidence and in turn lead to problems with schoolwork, illness and trouble in getting along with friends. Unfair criticism and sarcasm also hurt the bond of trust between the child and his parents. Give the children room to make their mistakes as they learn new skills.
- Be willing to apologize– Parents can also be wrong sometimes and it is all right to apologize. By doing this parents set themselves as a good role model for their children to teaching them the appropriate social skills. When you show how important it is to apologize after hurting someone, you are teaching the child that it is possible to work through problems with respect for the other person.
- Give children choices and respect their wishes– When children have a chance to make choices, they learn how to solve problems. This is an important skill. Giving children ways to express preferences and make decisions how that their ideas and feelings matter.
- Ask questions that help children solve problems on their own– When parents hear about the child’s problem the natural instinct is to step in and take over and solve their problems for them. But this can come in the way of the child finding the solution on their own. A helpful approach is to ask good question- “ What do you think you can do in this situation?”, “How do you propose we go about this?”.
- Read books and stories together– In this way, parents and children can share something enjoyable and learn together about other people- how people deal with common issues like making or losing friends or handling conflicts.
- Encourage sharing and helping– And this can be done together. This teaches children what they do can make a difference in the lives of others.