Building children’s social and emotional wellness is of the utmost importance to their future success. But, as business development professional Fahim Imam-Sadeque explains, this doesn’t have to be left to the classroom, either.
Parents can play an important role in building these essential skills for their children. It’s a great place to start to help set your children up for future success.
Here are 10 ways parents can build these skills in their children.
Routines can seem tedious at times, but they help ground children and give them a sense of security and safety. This is especially important for younger children.
Creating a daily routine for the family is great, but it should be one everyone can stick to. Routines can be different for the morning, afternoon, and night, but you shouldn’t vary from them too much.
Being in the same room as your children isn’t what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about dedicating time for your children so you can pay attention to them, listen to what they say and respond.
You can be present in simple ways such as reading books, singing songs, and playing together.
Children replicate the behaviours of their parents. Therefore, one of the best ways to develop social-emotional skills for your children is to be kind to others and do acts of service.
You can volunteer at a food bank or buy food or presents for families around the holidays. Say hello to people when you’re out and about, and always use your manners when talking on the phone or interacting with strangers at stores.
Do Creative Things
When people are creative, they are inherently being vulnerable. Having your children see that you’re willing to be vulnerable is a great way to teach them social-emotional skills.
Children build inner confidence when their parents praise them. This isn’t just about saying “good job” when they complete menial tasks. It’s about truly genuinely celebrating all accomplishments.
Make sure to give your children positive comments after they do behaviours you want to enforce. This will teach them to repeat those behaviours.
Model the Behaviour You Want
“Do as I say, not as I do” is a phrase you don’t want to live by. Instead, model whatever behaviour you want your children to replicate. As mentioned, this could include being kind. It could also include being on time, living up to your promises, and apologizing when you mess up.
Children want to help and be a part of the action. But, at the same time, most children hate “chores.” One way around that is to re-label chores as responsibility and get buy-in from your children.
Chores teach children responsibility, which is an essential aspect of social-emotional learning. Create a list of things for them to do that are appropriate for their age and make them consistent weekly.
Parents should constantly be checking with their children to see how they’re doing and how they’re feeling. By asking them what’s on their mind, you’ll be signalling that emotions matter. It also helps them describe what they’re feeling, an important component of adult communication.
Let Them Play a Part
Children do well when they think they’re in control. This is the art of being a parent. You want to empower your children without letting them run the show. Making them feel as if they had a say in what went down helps them build social-emotional skills.
A critical aspect of developing social-emotional skills is properly transitioning from a heightened emotion. For example, when children are mad, upset, or sad, it’s crucial that parents help them transition out of that emotion.
Fahim Imam-Sadeque says this can be done by taking an emotional temperature check. Ask your children why they feel a certain way and how you can help make it better.