Easy Ways to Incorporate SEL Into Your Home Routine
Now, perhaps more than ever, the letters S-E-L are on everyone’s lips. Parents, teachers, students, children, and families are experiencing stress and anxiety at this time. It’s often hard to know where to begin. Social emotional learning can help the whole family manage feelings, maintain relationships, and adjust positively to change.
We know that kids learn best through play. their development hinges on active involvement. So how can we bring social emotional learning into our home routine?
So much research has been done on the power of gratitude. People who practice gratitude experience the following:
- better physical health
- more optimism
- increased resiliency
To begin, gratitude is a mindset, and it may or may not require a shift in your family dynamics. A great time to practice gratitude is before a family meal. It can certainly fit into a formal prayer, but can also stand on its own with each person naming one or two things for which they’re grateful.
Like everything our kids learn, modeling is powerful. Check your own words and actions. First, make certain you are saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in your daily activities. Next, be specific when you thank someone. For example, say “Thanks for making dinner!”
Practicing gratitude as you go about your day is a great example for kids and will feel natural after a while. Notice your surroundings in the backyard with your kids. Are you grateful for your trees that give you shade? Your tomatoes that are growing so well? Make a point to say it out loud!
Have a kindness contest. Download a pre-made kindness printable or make your own and hang it on the fridge. Kindness activities might include things like ‘let someone else go first’ or ‘do an extra chore’. Set an individual and a family goal for how many acts of kindness you want to complete each day. Even better? Try to do an act of kindness without getting caught!
Patience is a challenge for many of us, regardless of our age. Playing a game of Monopoly, Candyland, or UNO is a fun way to incorporate a host of skills, including taking turns. Board games also offer opportunities to practice winning and losing gracefully, as well as having conversations and maybe even using strategy.
Children can benefit in so many areas of their lives by practicing mindful breathing.
Among other things, mindful breathing can:
- strengthen self-control
- lower anxiety
- improve emotional regulation skills
One way to practice mindful breathing is to ‘cool off the pizza’. To do this exercise, tell the child to pretend there is a hot slice of pizza in front of him. Have him take a deep breath in through his nose (to smell the pizza) and then slowly and steadily blow on the ‘pizza’ to cool it off.
The behaviors currently filed under ‘social emotional learning’ have been around forever, in the form of manners, good citizenship and self-awareness. Regardless of what these skills are called, life is much easier when they are worked into our home routine!