Developing Social and Emotional Skills of Kids at Home
Educating kids often includes academically challenging subjects, such as math, languages, and sciences. While classical studying is essential to a balanced education, it is also important to focus on the social and emotional skills of kids.
Nowadays, these skills are becoming more and more important. With great social and emotional understanding, children can reflect on their feelings and emotions as well as those of others. This may result in greater levels of empathy, self-regulation, and positive social interactions. Furthermore, it may help to understand the complex issues we face personally and professionally.
At home, several activities can actively contribute to the development of social and emotional skills of kids. Most of these activities do not require anything other than time and patience.
Focusing on a child’s own emotions and self-regulation
Children don’t always understand their own emotions, and hence they are often controlled by them. By learning about emotions and raising their awareness of their feelings, children can begin to reflect on them. Additionally, you can also encourage kids to communicate their feelings, as talking about emotions doesn’t always come naturally.
You can create situations and opportunities to talk about emotions with children in several ways:
- Pantomime: Our partners at Right to Play have developed a fun game that teaches children to communicate and read emotions through non-verbal communication. By gesticulating and miming, kids have to act and guess emotions! Click here to learn more.
- Listening and encouraging: Once children start to open up, it is important to patiently take the time to address their emotions. By listening and providing a setting for kids to talk, you can act as role models in dealing with emotions and feelings.
- Creating playful methods: Generally, it is challenging for kids to talk about what they think, feel, or desire. Giving this communication a playful twist can be a great help. Our Wish Buddies were designed to help families with just that by encouraging kids to write down their biggest dreams and finding a friend in a plush toy to share them with.
Nurturing empathy and the importance of others
Empathy is one of the key ingredients for positive social interactions with others. Only when we understand the feelings and emotions of others can we comprehend their actions. Consequently, we can understand their problems and contribute and help to solve them. Naturally, children are often self-centered and learning empathy is a long process.
You can actively help nurture your kids’ empathy in the following ways:
- Using books and movies: Track character development with your children. Talk about a character’s feelings in a scene or chapter to explain their behavior.
- Using social communication board games: Take some time with your little ones to craft a communication game. Get creative and make up your own, or find some inspiration here.
- Leading by example: Children learn from their parents. If you lead by helping others, your children can internalize the importance of taking care of the people around them.
Helping children understand society and culture
Our society, its people, and the way things interact are very complex. By starting early, you can give kids the chance to develop an understanding of what society and culture mean.
The complexity of these topics can be intimidating, but the following activities are easy to do and provide an understanding of society and culture.
- Creating foreign art: Cultures differentiate themselves from others greatly by the art they have internalized. Mandalas, for example, are easy to make and their calming nature traces its roots to Buddhism.
- Using public holidays and other occasions: Most public holidays and celebrations are derived from history or culture. You can encourage your children to reflect on the reason they can stay at home on certain days.
- Writing a letter to the elderly: Writing a letter to the elderly is not only a nice surprise for the seniors, but also teaches cross-generational communication and helps nurture an appreciation for the elderly.